Men's Soccer Tangles With Ranked Foes
Men's Soccer Release No. 3
Men's Soccer Stats
CSUN and UC Irvine head to Albuquerque to participate in the Grange and Ashwill Invitational against No. 9 Denver, UC Santa Barbara hosts No. 20 Akron, and UC Riverside travels to No. 17 Omaha in a challenging week of action for Big West men's soccer.
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In The Win Column
Sacramento State became the latest Big West school to join the win column last week, earning a 2-0 road victory against San Jose State.
The Hornets joined Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, UC Davis and UC Irvine among conference schools that posted W’s in the early part of the season. Those four teams have all won two games.
Cal Poly, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara seek their first wins of the 2017 campaign this week. After four straight difficult road games to begin the season, the Mustangs play their home opener on Sunday against Saint Mary’s. The Highlanders travel to No. 17 Omaha for a Friday game, while the Gauchos host No. 20 Akron.
A Look At The Schedule
Big West schools have 67 games on the non-conference schedule prior to the conference opener on Sept. 28. Forty-two of the 67 games take place against rival conferences in the West Coast (24), Western Athletic (14) and Pac-12 (4).
The Big West already has played seven contests against ranked opponents, going 1-6-0 overall. Four more opportunities to battle ranked foes exist on this week’s slate. Both CSUN and UC Irvine take on No. 9 Denver at the Grange and Ashwill Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. UC Riverside tries to upend No. 17 Omaha on a trip to the midwest, and UC Santa Barbara battles No. 20 Akron at home as the two squads meet on the pitch for the third consecutive year.
The remainder of this week’s schedule is WCC-centric. Six matches against the rival conference are on tap. Sacramento State and UC Davis take turns hosting San Diego and Loyola Marymount. Cal Poly welcomes Saint Mary’s, while Cal State Fullerton plays San Francisco at a neutral site in San Diego.
Big Ranked Win
CSUN recorded the biggest win of the young season last Friday in Orem, Utah, taking down No. 18/14 Utah Valley by a 2-1 score. The Matadors scored twice in the opening 16 minutes and held off the Wolverines defensively for most of the match.
Shaffer One Win Away From 200
UC Davis mentor Dwayne Shaffer is just one win away from reaching milestone No. 200 for his Division I coaching career. In his 21st season at the helm of the Aggies, Shaffer has compiled a 199-167-51 mark, with 192 of those wins coming in his 20 years at UC Davis. He also coached one season at Dayton. Shaffer goes for No. 200 on Friday at home against Loyola Marymount.
After four games, UC Santa Barbara is winless at 0-2-2, and has scored only one goal in that span. It is unfamiliar territory for the Gaucho program, which has won at least 10 games for 16 straight seasons. In fact, the last time UCSB struggled this early in the season was 2010, when that club also began 0-2-2. It should be noted that that team went on to finish 14-5-3 overall and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA Tournament Opponents On Tap
Big West squads are taking on a challenging 2017 men’s soccer non-conference schedule, playing a total of 12 contests versus nine different opponents ranked in the top 25 of the preseason United Soccer Coaches poll.
The non-conference slate looks even more impressive when considering the total number of opponents that reached the NCAA Tournament last year. Big West squads are playing a total of 22 contests against 14 different opponents who participated in the 48-team NCAA Tournament bracket.
Cal Poly has five NCAA Tourney foes on that list, including traditional powerhouses Indiana, Notre Dame and Maryland. UC Santa Barbara plays four of those teams, with heavyweight Akron among the battles. Cal State Fullerton faces a quartet of postseason participants – highly ranked Clemson the most prominent of them. CSUN and UC Irvine have three NCAA foes on their slates, including common opponents in New Mexico and Denver. The Anteaters also have a date with top-10 foe Louisville, while the Matadors are the lone Big West team to take on UCLA this year. All eight Big West squads play at least one opponent that appeared in the NCAA Tournament field last year.
Here is a list of opponents which played in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
San Diego State
CAL STATE FULLERTON
UC SANTA BARBARA
San Diego State