Conference Play Begins In Men's Soccer
Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 6
Cal Poly gets first crack at No. 3 UC Irvine as the Big West men's soccer slate begins this Friday. The Anteaters are unbeaten through nine games at 8-0-1 while the Mustangs boast the highest win percentage (.667) from the North Division.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
League Play Awaits: Cal Poly concludes a five-match homestand this week with the beginning of Big West play, as No. 3 UC Irvine and CSUN visit Spanos Stadium. The Mustangs are winless (0-5-1) in the last six meetings with CSUN dating back to the 2011 season.
Crowds Stepping Up: Two of the top three crowds among Big West schools have attended Cal Poly games this season – a league-high 6,856 against San Francisco (Sept. 19) and 3,309 versus Drake last Friday.
Wade’s World: Junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton posted his ninth career complete game shutout in a 0-0 scoreless draw against Drake. He made three saves in the game, increasing his season total to a Big West-best 40.
More On Wade: Hamilton, who has made 32 consecutive starts in goal going back to his freshman campaign, has logged 19 victories and looks for number 20 against visiting No. 3 UC Irvine on Thursday.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Locked In: Cal State Fullerton takes a four-game winning streak into the opening of Big West play, heading out on the road to face UC Davis and Sacramento State this week. It is the first four-game win streak for the Titans since Sept. 3-16, 2011.
Streak Talk: The Titans have not won five straight games since the 2000 season when they reeled off eight in a row.
Bell Rung: Sophomore defender Mitchell Bell was the hero in CSF’s 1-0 road win against Grand Canyon on Sunday. Bell struck with a third minute header for his first career goal. He was the seventh different Titan to score this season.
On Point: During this current four-game boom, the Titans have outscored their opponents, 9-1.
Looking For A Good Start: Cal State Fullerton has lost each of its last three Big West openers. The last time the Titans won a conference opener was on Sept. 29, 2010, a 1-0 overtime triumph against UC Santa Barbara.
Good Win: CSUN notched an important non-conference win against Bakersfield, downing the Roadrunners 2-1 in double overtime last Thursday. Bakersfield is ranked No. 4 in the NSCAA West Region.
Business As Usual: Senior Sagi Lev-Ari has lived up to his All-American billing. The forward is tied for fifth nationally with seven goals. More importantly, he has accounted for seven of CSUN’s nine goals on the season, as only two other Matadors have found the back of the net through nine contests. Lev-Ari has scored the game-winning goal in all four CSUN wins.
Arrive Early, Leave Late: Lev-Ari logged his ninth career multi-goal contest with a pair of strikes against CSUB, and he did so in dramatic fashion both times. He scored just 38 seconds in, marking the third time in his career he had a goal in the first minute of a match. Lev-Ari then resurfaced in the second overtime, notching the game-winner in the 105th minute. With 38 career goals, Lev-Ari is closing in on becoming the fourth player in league history with 40.
Looking Ahead: The Hornets were shutout for the fifth time this season in a 5-0 defeat to Bakersfield on Sunday. It was the program’s worst loss since a 6-0 setback at San Francisco in 2003. They have been outscored 19-0 in their last five games against Bakersfield. Sacramento State seeks to rebound against UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton this week as Big West play begins.
Walking Wounded: The Hornets suited up just 13 healthy position players against Bakersfield. Key injuries, including sophomore all-conference defender Andrew Gosselin, have challenged the team’s resolve.
Mez Coming Through: Prior to the season, head coach Michael Linenberger mentioned that the productivity of senior forward Chimdum Mez would play a key role in Sacramento State’s success. That statement has proved to be true, as Mez leads the team and is tied for fourth in the Big West with four goals. In games in which he has scored, the Hornets are 2-0-2. They are 0-5 in games which he has been held scoreless.
Fit To Be Tied: The Aggies played in their sixth and seventh consecutive double overtime matches, extending a school record, and settled for draws against San Francisco (0-0) and Saint Mary’s (1-1). UC Davis has gone to double overtime in eight of its nine contests.
Records In View: The Aggies have posted four consecutive draws, which ties a school record initially set in 2012. The seven ties overall are one shy of tying the Big West record for most ties in a season – eight – established in 2007 by UC Riverside. In addition, UC Davis is moving in on the NCAA record for ties in a season – nine – held by three squads and most recently South Florida in 2013.
Overtime Overtures: With seven ties and eight overtime matches under their collective belt, the Aggies have played all but 17 seconds of a possible 160 minutes of overtime this season.
No Lack For Trying: Despite producing just nine goals in nine games, third-fewest in the Big West, UC Davis ranks third in shots taken (124) and only 11 short of the leader.
Moving On Up: UC Irvine continues to conquer new territory in the national ranking landscape. The Anteaters, which last week achieved a No. 4 national ranking for the first time in program history, rose one spot to No. 3 in this week’s NSCAA/Continental Tire poll. Moreover, UCI collected its first-ever first-place vote in the process.
Indicator Of Success: The Anteaters are 7-0-0 this season when scoring two or more goals, and since the beginning of 2013, have sported an astounding 16-0-2 record when tallying multiple goals.
Big Part Of The Equation: UC Irvine is tied for No. 7 nationally in goals scored (21) and tied No. 13 in scoring offense (2.33 gpg), and two players have had large roles with those contributions. Junior transfer Eduardo Calzada and senior Gor Kirakosyan are each scored five goals, tied for second-most in the Big West, and the duo has combined for four game-winning strikes.
Kirakosyan Tidbit: Kirakosyan has scored a goal in four straight games and has at least one point in five straight.
Offense Slumping: The Highlanders failed to score a goal for the third and fourth games in a row as they fell to Utah Valley and UNLV at the Rebel Classic last weekend. UC Riverside’s last goal came on Sept. 11 against Bakersfield in a 3-1 loss. Since that goal, the team’s scoring drought has now reached 464 minutes and 50 seconds.
On The Flip Side: The UCR defense has been somewhat stingy this season, giving up one goal or less in five of eight games played. Four of UCR’s six losses have come by just one goal.
Khosravi High On Saves List: Junior goalkeeper Ashkan Khosravi ranks second in the Big West with 35 saves after posting a combined total of 10 at last week’s UNLV Rebel Classic. Khosravi’s six saves versus Utah Valley was the second-highest total he had had in a game this year.
Looking For Even Better: UCR opens Big West play this week on the road against Sacramento State and UC Davis. The Highlanders went 1-1 against the two foes last season.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Ramping Up: After a 1-2-1 start, UC Santa Barbara has won three of its last four contests as the team transitions into conference play this week. The Gauchos have scored four goals in a game twice during that span – both 4-1 victories against Colgate and Drake.
Ahl That And More: Freshman Ludwig Ahl became the first Gaucho to score multiple goals in a game this season when he posted a brace in Sunday’s win over Drake. Ahl has scored three goals overall on just eight shots.
Murphy Honored: Sophomore Drew Murphy took over the team lead for points (7) after tallying a goal and two assists in last week’s victories over San Diego State and Drake. He had the game-winning assist in the 1-0 win over the Aztecs, then notched the game-winning goal against Drake. The midfielder was honored with a spot on the College Soccer News National Team of the Week.
Good Move: Sophomore Nick DePuy, starting at forward for the first time this season, responded with the game-winning goal in the 1-0 win against San Diego State.