UC Santa Barbara men's soccer is atop the Big West North Division, No. 15 nationally in Soccer America, and needs one more victory to give head coach Tim Vom Steeg his 100th conference win.
Unbeaten Streak: Cal Poly takes a four-match unbeaten streak into this week’s conference tilts with Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside. The Mustangs entered a national poll for the first time this season, as they are receiving votes in the latest Top Drawer Soccer edition.
Hamilton One Away From 30: Senior goalkeeper Wade Hamilton is tied for ninth in Big West history with 29 career victories. He needs one more win to become just the ninth netminder in league annals to accumulate 30.
Defense Rules The Day: Except for the Sept. 18 match at UCLA (4-1 loss), the Mustang “D” has been stingy. Cal Poly has allowed one goal or less in its nine other games, including four shutouts. The team is tops in the Big West in fewest goals allowed (9) and goals against average (0.86).
Colvey’s Contribution: Senior defender Kip Colvey scored against UC Irvine on Saturday, his first goal since Nov. 12, 2013.
CAL STATE FULLERTON
That’s A First: Cal State Fullerton blanked Sacramento State and UC Davis last week to start conference play 2-0 for the first time since the Big West reinstituted men’s soccer in 2001. The Titans also began Big West play 2-0 in 1991, which was the final year of the league’s first incarnation of the sport (1983-91).
Spreading The Wealth: All three goals last week came from Titans scoring their firsts of the year – Zach Bryan, Ronaldo Pineda and Nigel Patterson. Ten Titans have now found the back of the net in 2015, with game-winners coming from six different players.
Streak Snapped: Cal State Fullerton’s 2-0 shutout of Sacramento State last Thursday represented the first time since 2010 that the team won its conference opener.
Shutout City: CSF has won its last three games by shutout, and sit atop the Big West with six this season. The last time CSF won four straight games via the clean sheet was the 2006 season finale, and the first three games of 2007.
Rebound Time: The Matadors started out Big West play 0-2 for the second year in a row after dropping two close games at home to Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara. CSUN travels up north to face UC Davis and Sacramento State in hopes of avoiding an 0-3 beginning for the second straight season.
Hobbnobing: Senior goalkeeper Adam Hobbs made a Big West season game-high 10 saves against UC Santa Barbara to keep his team in the match on Saturday. Nine of those stops came in the second half with the score tied at 1-1. With 175 career saves, Hobbs ranks No. 5 at CSUN all-time.
Defense Strong: The two goals CSUN allowed against UC Santa Barbara marked the first time in seven matches that the team yielded multiple goals to an opponent. CSUN has given up the third-fewest goals (12) in the Big West.
Overtime Overtures: CSUN is 0-2-1 in overtime matches this season. The program’s last OT win came last year in a 2-1 decision versus CSU Bakersfield.
Back Home: Sacramento State was outscored 5-1 combined by Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside to open conference action last week. The Hornets return home for just their third game at Hornet Soccer Field this Thursday against UC Irvine. It is the first of three straight home contests.
Recipe For Success: Dating back to last season, the Hornets are unbeaten in the last nine games (6-0-3) in which they allow one or zero goals. Conversely, the team has lost its last eight games when yielding two or more goals, dating back to the 2014 season.
Gonzalez Nets First: Freshman Jessie Gonzalez notched his first career goal as a collegian in Saturday’s 3-1 loss at UC Riverside. Gonzalez was the seventh different Hornet to score a goal this season.
Future Looks Bright: Of the 11 goals Sacramento State has scored this season, seven of those have been contributed by either freshmen or sophomores. Redshirt freshman Brad Bumgarner leads the squad with three goals, while sophomore Cylus Sandoval is tied for second with two.
Machine: UC Davis extended its winning streak to four straight with a Big West-opening 2-0 victory at UC Riverside on Thursday. The Aggies outscored their opponents 13-2 during the streak. The team then got shutout for the first time since Aug. 30 versus Washington, losing 1-0 to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
From All Directions: Sophomore Kyle Higgins became the 11th different Aggie to tally a goal this season as he provided the insurance in the win over UCR. UC Davis leads all Big West teams in number of players who have scored goals.
Mohageg’s Marker: Senior Lucas Mohageg saw his streak of five straight games with at least one point end at Cal State Fullerton. The Aggies are 5-1 this season when he records a goal or an assist.
Exact Opposite: The Aggies set a Big West single-season record and tied an NCAA mark with - count ‘em - nine ties during the 2014 season. In a complete reversal of direction, UC Davis has not played in a single tie game through the first 11 meetings in 2015.
Point Taken: UC Irvine emerged from the first week of Big West play with one point as Eduardo Calzada’s 86th minute equalizer helped the Anteaters forge a 1-1 tie with Cal Poly on Saturday.
Offensive Improvement: The Anteaters have outshot each of their last five opponents, and have recorded double-digit shot attempts in six straight games. UCI is averaging 16.3 shots over the last six contests, yet the activity has not been rewarded, with the team posting a 1-4-1 record over that stretch.
Calzada Rediscovers Form: One of the Big West’s most potent goal scorers in 2014, Eduardo Calzada failed to hit paydirt in each of UCI’s first seven contests this season. But the talented senior has come to life recently as he owns a four-game goal scoring streak. In fact, Calzada has amassed four goals and two assists during that stretch.
Phillips On A Streak: Senior Jaime Phillips, a transfer from Holy Names, has recorded at least one point in four straight games, and assisted on both UCI goals last week against UCSB and Cal Poly.
Offensive Spark: UC Riverside’s 3-1 victory over Sacramento State on Saturday gave the team 18 goals for the year, the third-highest among Big West squads. With at least eight games left to play, that total is just three short of what the Highlanders scored during all of the 2014 season.
Predictor Of Success: Put it in the bank. The Highlanders are practically a shoo-in to win when they score two or more goals. After defeating Sacramento State, UCR improved to 5-0 this season when hitting that goal benchmark, and is now 31-1-1 since 2011 under those same conditions.
Dynamic Duo: The Highlanders are the only Big West team with two top-five goal scorers in seniors Norberto Ochoa and Michael Salazar. Ochoa, who potted two goals against the Hornets, now has seven on the year and ranks second in the conference. Salazar is tied for third with five.
Khosravi Ties Record: Senior Ashkan Khosravi won his 21st career game as the Highlander goalie, tying the school record by Charles Alamo (2003-07). Khosravi looks to take sole possession of the mark Thursday at UC Santa Barbara.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Full Gear: UC Santa Barbara has amped up its play, winning five of its last six games with multiple goals scored in those five victories. The Gauchos have scored two or more goals in seven of their 11 matches, and are 6-0-1 when they do so.
Conference Chatter: UCSB won its Big West opener for the fourth straight season, and take a 2-0 conference mark into home affairs with UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton this week. UCSB’s most recent 3-0 league start came in 2013, when that squad won its first six conference meetings.
Shot Takers, Shot Makers: The importance of forwards Nick DePuy and Ahinga Selemani cannot be understated. They rank one-two in the Big West in shots with 38 and 34, respectively, and the duo has rifled off nearly half of UCSB’s total shots (160) this season. They also have combined for 13 goals.
Vom Steeg Watch: Head coach Tim Vom Steeg is one win away from becoming the first Big West boss to amass 100 league wins, and gets his first shot Thursday versus UCR.