UC Santa Barbara Seeks To Tie Big West Record
Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 7
The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team, unbeaten in its last 12 Big West regular season games, looks to tie the conference record of 14 straight established by the 2002 and 2003 Gaucho squads.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
Going Overtime: Cal Poly toiled in its second and third straight overtime matches, and came away with good results in a 1-1 draw against No. 3 UC Irvine and a 2-1 victory versus CSUN. It is the first time since 2010 that the Mustangs went unbeaten during the first weekend of Big West action.
Kaba Kan: Freshman Kaba Alkebulan recorded the first brace of his career in Cal Poly’s 2-1 win against CSUN. The forward scored just 1:38 into overtime for his fourth goal of the year, and second-most on the team.
Telling Stat: Dating back to the 2013 season, the Mustangs have won 15 of their last 16 contests when they score two or more goals. The lone setback during that span came to Davidson, 4-3, in this year’s season opener.
LaGrassa Remains Hot: Junior Matt LaGrassa sits atop the Mustang leaderboard with five goals and 12 points. He has amassed at least one point in five of the last seven games, and is one goal shy of his career-high six from 2013.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Coming Away Empty: Despite outshooting their opponents a combined 33-18, the Titans fell at UC Davis and Sacramento State last weekend to begin Big West play 0-2. The Titans have lost their last four openers in conference.
Opportunities Abounding: The Titans tied their season high for shot attempts (22) and set a single-game best for corner kicks (12), but none of those chances yielded goals in the 1-0 loss to Sacramento State. It was the first shutout Cal State Fullerton had suffered since Sept. 7 against Northwestern.
Upperclassmen Step Up: Eleven of the Titans’ 14 goals this season have been attributed to juniors and seniors. Senior Garrett Losee leads the squad with three goals.
OT Not Their Friend: Cal State Fullerton’s loss to the Hornets was a double overtime heartbreaker. The Titans are 0-3-4 in Big West overtime games since 2011. They last won a game in extra time in 2010.
Tough Start: CSUN lost a pair of tough Big West battles at UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly last week, by identical 2-1 scores. The Matadors have now dropped three in a row heading into their conference home opener against Sacramento State on Thursday.
That’s A First: The Matadors have started out 0-2 in conference play for the first time in their Big West history, dating back to the 2001 season.
Offensive Struggles Continue: CSUN’s offense has managed multiple goals just three times in 11 games, and the team is second from the bottom in the conference with 11 goals. That’s a far cry from last year’s squad, which tied for the Big West lead in goals with 43, and scored two or more goals in 14 contests.
Close Affairs: Involved in a number of tight games this year, the Matadors have been in position to win just about every time they’ve played. Eight of CSUN’s 11 games have been decided by one goal, and a ninth ended up a scoreless draw.
Tale Of Two Games: The Hornets split their opening week of Big West play, losing 4-0 to UC Riverside before recovering to nip Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, in double overtime. The goal against the Titans stopped a streak in which Hornet opponents had scored 10 straight goals.
Mez The Hero...Again: Senior Chimdum Mez scored his third game-winning goal, and fifth overall, on a header inside the penalty box to give the Hornets a dramatic 1-0 victory in double overtime over Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. Mez, whose previous career high was two goals in 2013, is tied for second in the Big West in that category.
Getting His Chance: Head coach Michael Linenberger has employed three goalkeepers in the starting role this season – Philip Bru, Teddy Sampson and James Del Curto. A redshirt freshman, Del Curto returned to the lineup last week for the first time since starting the season opener at Temple. He did not concede a single goal in nearly 150 minutes of action against UCR and CSF, and made a Big West single-game season high of 10 saves against the Titans.
Ags Remain Unbeaten: The Aggies notched a pair of victories over Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside to extend their unbeaten string to 11 straight. The UC Davis streak (4-0-7) is the longest in the school’s Division I history, eclipsing the previous record of 10 set in 2008.
Regulation Relief: UC Davis won both games last week in regulation, ending a streak of seven consecutive games resulting in double overtime, including the last four which ended in draws.
Offensive Booster: Goals from Lucas Mohageg, Kyle Higgins and Justin Kitts provided the Aggies a season-high in goals scored during Thursday’s 3-1 win against the Titans. Higgins and Kitts collected their first career goals.
Always A Good Sign: When the Aggies score two or more goals, they own an impressive 18-1-1 record dating to the 2011 campaign.
Quezada Shines: Sophomore goalie Armando Quezada owns a 0.45 GAA as the starter in the last four games.
Streak Ends: UC Irvine extended its unbeaten streak to 10 straight games following a 1-1 tie to Cal Poly in Thursday’s Big West opener, but suffered its first loss of the year on Sunday to UC Santa Barbara. UCI fell eight spots in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll to No. 11 this week.
Doesn’t Happen Often: In losing 1-0 to UCSB, the Anteaters were shutout for the first time all season. UCI, which leads the Big West with 22 goals scored, has scored multiple goals in seven of 11 contests.
Homeward Bound: UC Irvine is 11-2-1 at home since the 2013 opener, and Anteater Stadium will be a welcome sight this week against UC Davis and Sacramento State.
Ortiz Comes Through In Clutch: Sophomore Mario Ortiz, a transfer from Bakersfield, notched his first goal as an Anteater and it couldn’t have come at a better time as he had the equalizer in the 76th minute at Cal Poly. Ortiz became the ninth different Anteater player to score a goal this season. Two other squads – UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara – also have nine different scorers.
Explosion: UC Riverside ended a 477 minute goalless streak in rather loud fashion, scoring four times in the first half of Thursday’s 4-0 whitewashing versus Sacramento State in the Big West opener. It was the first time since the 2011 season that the Highlanders won their league opener.
Strong Statement: The four goals actually marks the second time this season that UCR has been that prolific on offense. UCR enjoyed a 5-0 win over Pacific in the season opener. The Highlanders have scored a combined two goals in their seven losses and one tie, compared to the nine they’ve deposited in their two victories.
In On The Act: Sophomores Stephen Copley and Andre Parada scored their first career goals in the Sacramento State victory.
Salazar Ends Slump: Junior Michael Salazar, who had a season-opening hat trick against Pacific, had been held scoreless in his next six appearances before netting his fourth goal of the year against the Hornets. He is tied for sixth in the Big West in goals.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Gauchos Near Record: UC Santa Barbara opened up Big West play in grand fashion with wins over two of their biggest nemesises – CSUN and UC Irvine. The Gauchos are now unbeaten in 12 straight Big West regular season matches after going 7-0-3 in 2013. The record for longest unbeaten streak in the Big West modern era (2001-14) is 14 – established by the 2002 and 2003 UCSB squads.
DePuy Receives National Honor: Sophomore Nick DePuy, who collected both game-winning goals in Big West victories over CSUN and UCI, was named the College Soccer News National Player of the Week and to the National Team of the Week. He is the fourth Big West player to be named to a CSN Team of the Week this season.
Defense Buckling Down: Since allowing four goals to Stanford on Sept. 9, the Gaucho defense has yielded just four total in the last six outings for an impressive 0.67 goals against average.
Looking Ahead: UCSB embarks on a season-long four match roadtrip, starting Thursday at Cal State Fullerton.