Men's Soccer Tournament Seeds To Be Decided Wednesday
Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 11
UC Irvine, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara have clinched berths to the Big West Men's Soccer Tournament, but the other three open slots will not be determined until after the outcomes of Wednesday's games.
BIG WEST AT A GLANCE
• The top three teams from the North and South Division advance to the Big West Tournament, which begins on Saturday, Nov. 8. Each division’s No. 1 team receives a bye in the first round. First round games on Nov. 8 feature each division’s No. 2 team hosting the third-place team from the opposite division.
• UC Santa Barbara is the lone North Division squad to have clinched a spot in the tournament entering the final day of the regular season on Wednesday. The Gauchos are the No. 1 seed from the north. UC Irvine and UC Riverside have locked down tournament berths from the South Division, but no seeds have been determined.
• UC Irvine can clinch the South Division No. 1 seed with a win or tie against UC Riverside. The Highlanders can stake claim to the top seed with a victory over the Anteaters.
• Cal State Fullerton is in the tournament with a win or tie versus CSUN. The Matadors must defeat the Titans in order to gain entry into the tourney.
• UC Davis clinches a tournament berth with a win or tie against Cal Poly. The Aggies also can get in with a loss, but only if Sacramento State loses to UC Santa Barbara as well.
• Sacramento State earns a tournament berth with either a tie or win against UC Santa Barbara. In a three-way tie involving the Hornets, Cal Poly and UC Davis with 14 points, Sacramento State is the No. 2 seed and Cal Poly the No. 3.
Tourney Hopes: Three losses and one tie in the last four matches has put Cal Poly in the precarious position of being on the outside looking in for a berth to the Big West Tournament. The Mustangs currently sit fourth in the North Division with 11 points, two behind Sacramento State and three in back of UC Davis. Cal Poly faces a must win game against the Aggies on Wednesday.
Give And Take: The Mustangs are tied for second for most goals scored (12) in conference games, but they have also allowed the second-highest number (13) to opponents.
Hamilton Rises Up Charts: Junior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton made six saves last weekend to improve his season total to a Big West leading 89. That amount ties him for fifth in Cal Poly single-season history, and he’s only three saves away from the third spot.
Three And Counting: With an 8-6-4 record, Cal Poly is assured of its third consecutive winning season. The Mustangs are seeking a third straight double-digit win season as well.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
Tournament Talk: Cal State Fullerton faces a huge road test in its final regular season matchup. A win or a tie at CSUN on Wednesday would solidify a berth in the upcoming Big West Tournament. A loss to the Matadors would eliminate CSF from tournament contention.
Tourney History: The Titans have made two appearances in the Big West Tournament since its inception in 2008, advancing to the championship game in 2010 and semifinals in 2012.
Fabulous Fenelus: Senior Marc Fenelus has heated up in Big West play, scoring four of his six goals on the season over the last seven contests. The Titans are 4-1-1 in games in which he scores.
The “O” Increases: The Titans have recorded 27 goals this season, four more than they scored in all of 2013. The next goal CSF scores will give the program its highest offensive output since the 2006 squad netted 29 goals. CSF’s 27 goals ranks No. 3 in the Big West.
Cut And Dry: The postseason hopes of CSUN rest upon its result on Wednesday against Cal State Fullerton. The Matadors simply must win to punch their ticket into the Big West Tournament. A loss or tie would eliminate them from the six-team event.
Host Opportunity Possible: CSUN could end up being locked out of the Big West Tournament, but its fortunes also could flip. The Matadors could move as high as the No. 2 seed in the North Division, giving them an opportunity to host a first round match on Saturday. A CSUN win over CSF, coupled with a win by either UC Irvine or UC Riverside would accomplish those purposes.
Sagi Strong: Senior Sagi Lev-Ari scored a goal for the third time in the last five contests, recording his league-leading 11th goal in a 2-0 win against UC Irvine Saturday. It also improved his career totals to 42 goals and 90 points.
Rivas Takes His Best Shot: Senior Edwin Rivas now ranks fourth in Big West history with 211 career shots. He needs two more to take over the No. 3 slot.
Huge Road Wins: The Hornets came away with two crucial road wins last week, topping Cal Poly (2-1) and Causeway Cup rival UC Davis (3-2 in OT) to move into third place in the crowded North Division. The Hornets could clinch a spot in the Big West Tournament with a win or tie against UC Santa Barbara Wednesday, but also could get in with a loss.
Late Season Push: Sacramento State has gone 2-0-1 in its last three games to collect seven huge points in a week’s span. In last week’s wins, the Hornets snapped an 11-game streak in which they had not produced multiple goals. In fact, the five goals they scored in the two wins represented the most in back-to-back games since the near midway point of 2012.
Firing Line: Shots don’t always necessarily translate into goals, but in last week’s wins they did. The Hornets fired off a combined 40 shots, including a season-high 23 against UC Davis. The two efforts represented back-to-back season highs in shots attempted, besting the previous top mark of 16 set twice – against Cleveland State (Sept. 14) and Oct. 18 (Cal Poly).
Record Broken: UC Davis found itself on the losing end of two overtime matches last week, but set an NCAA record in the process. The Aggies played in their 12th and 13th overtime contests, breaking the record of 11.
Tournament Talk: For UC Davis to punch its ticket to the Big West Tournament, the formula is pretty simple – a win or tie in Wednesday’s game against Cal Poly will do the trick. However, an Aggie loss coupled with a tie result in the Sacramento State-UC Santa Barbara game, or a Hornet victory, would eliminate UC Davis from the playoffs.
Streak Snapped: The Aggies saw their 10-match home unbeaten streak disrupted in the loss to Sacramento State. However, UC Davis has won six of the past seven meetings at home against Wednesday’s opponent, Cal Poly.
Still A Stalwart: Despite allowing a season-high three goals in the loss to Sacramento State last week, the Aggies are still at the forefront of the Big West in terms of defense. They have allowed the fewest number of goals (13) and own the league’s lowest goals against average (0.63).
Wrapped Up: UC Irvine is assured a spot in the Big West Tournament, but its seed has not been determined. The Anteaters can clinch the No. 1 seed with either a win or a tie against UC Riverside on Wednesday. A loss to the Highlanders could drop UCI to the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in the North Division.
Offensive Search Party: The Anteaters lead the South Division with 13 points despite having scored the fewest goals of anyone in conference play with seven. UCI has totalled just three goals over its last five games.
Ortiz The Hero: Sophomore Mario Ortiz notched his third goal of the season, and second game-winner, in the 87th minute of Wednesday’s 1-0 triumph at Cal State Fullerton. The last five Anteater goals all have come in the second half.
Breslin In The Big West Record Book: Junior goalkeeper Michael Breslin ranks in the Big West career top 10 in several categories, including victories (32, 6th), shutouts (19, 10th), minutes played (5,498, 9th) and total matches in goal (59, t-10).
Bid Clinched: After a 1-3-1 start in Big West play, the Highlanders were down but certainly not out. Since then, they are 2-0-2 – all against teams in their own division, and the late season push has clinched UCR a berth into the Big West Tournament. The Highlanders can wrestle away the No. 1 seed with a win at UC Irvine on Wednesday.
Overtime Overtures: UCR has played in three straight overtime contests, which had not happened to the program since the last game of 2001 and the first two contests of 2002. This is the first time that the Highlanders have played three OT games in a row in the same season.
More On Overtime: Dating back to last season, the Highlanders halted a seven-game winless streak in overtime games (0-1-6) with Wednesday’s 1-0 home victory over CSUN.
Still The Formula: The Highlanders own a 3-0-1 record this season in games which they score two or more goals. Conversely, they are 1-9-3 when they do not. They bucked the trend in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over CSUN.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Back On Top: Consecutive wins over UC Davis and Cal Poly last week secured UC Santa Barbara the No. 1 seed from the North Division and a first-round bye in the Big West Tournament, and at the very least a share of the division title. The Gauchos can clinch the divisional title outright with either a win or tie, or a UC Davis loss or tie this week.
That’s Two In A Row: This is the second straight year that UCSB has earned the North Division title. The Gauchos won the division outright in 2013 with a 7-0-3 record.
DePuy The Magnificent: Sophomore Nick DePuy, who has accounted for UCSB’s last four goals, received a pair of national honors as the Top Drawer Soccer and College Soccer News Player of the Week, thanks to converting a pair of game-winning goals against UC Davis and Cal Poly.
He’s Ahlright: Coming on strong for the Gauchos is Stockholm, Sweden native Ludwig Ahl. All four of his assists have come in the last four games, including a pair of multi-assist efforts. Ahl is also tied with Cal Poly’s Kaba Alkebulan for the most points (12) among Big West freshmen.