Big West Men's Soccer Season Wrap Up
United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region Release
The 2017 Big West men's soccer season featured double-digit win performances from Cal State Fullerton, CSUN and UC Davis.
Cal State Fullerton Drops NCAA Opener
Cal State Fullerton lost a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Pacific in the NCAA Tournament First Round to conclude the 2017 season with a 10-8-4 record. Making their third NCAA postseason trip in four seasons under head coach George Kuntz, the Titans have lost to West Coast Conference opponents each time – San Diego (2014), Santa Clara (2015) and Pacific (2017). CSF’s record in the NCAA’s as a Big West member fell to 0-4. The program owns a 7-5-1 record in six other NCAA appearances as a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Soccer Association and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The Kuntz Factor
Cal State Fullerton head coach George Kuntz has enjoyed a run of success in the Big West Tournament that would be difficult to duplicate on any level. He succeeded in winning the tourney championship for the seventh time in the event’s 10-year history, hoisting the crown on four occasions with UC Irvine (2008, 2009, 2011, 2013) and three more with his current club (2014, 2015, 2017). Kuntz owns an all-time tournament record of 14-2-3 with eight championship game appearances and seven championships.
Ten Win Titans
The CSF program has won at least 10 games for four straight seasons, the longest streak among Big West programs. UC Santa Barbara’s string of 16 straight double-digit win seasons ended in 2017 after the Gauchos finishd 6-8-5. Coinciding with Kuntz’s arrival, the Titans have won more games (43) than any other Big West school.
South Division Swagger
Since the Big West moved to divisional play in 2012, the North Division owns a 50-34-12 record all-time against the South Division in regular season games. But the South Division has reversed its fortunes in the Big West Tournament. In fact, a South Division team has won all six tournament titles since division play began. The No. 1 seed from the south has won five of those six championships.
UC Davis Enjoys Outstanding Season
UC Davis turned in one of the best seasons in its Division I history, finishing 11-7-3 with the highest total of wins and best winning percentage (.595) of any Big West school. The 11 victories rank third-most for the program since going D-I in 2007, trailing only the 2008 (13) and 2007 (12).
Ags Capture North Division Title
UC Davis compiled a 7-2-1 Big West record to notch its second North Division crown – and first since 2012. The Aggies outscored their league foes 22-8 over the 10-game schedule.
Props To CSUN
CSUN also had a solid season as the third Big West team to record double-digit wins. The Matadors finished 10-9-2 to post their first double-digit win season since 2013. In addition, CSUN matched Cal State Fullerton at 4-4-2 in conference play to capture a share of the South Division title, giving the Matadors back-to-back division crowns. They won the outright South title in 2016.
• The Big West had nine players named to the All-Far West Region Teams, as announced by the United Soccer Coaches organization. The nine honorees represent the most for the Big West since notching 11 in 2014. Three representatives made the second team, including UC Davis junior Roy Boateng, UC Santa Barbara freshman Rodney Michael and UC Irvine senior Giovanni Godoy. A total of six players landed spots on the third team – UC Davis freshman Nabi Kibunguchy, Sacramento State senior Paul Geyer, CSUN seniors Emmanuel Usen Jr. and Darion Mealing, and Cal State Fullerton juniors Samuel Goni and Ross McPhie.
• Rodney Michael of UC Santa Barbara and Nabi Kibunguchy of UC Davis are the first two Big West freshmen to be named all-region since UCSB’s Ismaila Jome in 2013.
• The UC Davis coaching triumvirate of head coach Dwayne Shaffer, Associate Head Coach Jason Hotaling and Assistant Coach Chris Leer were one of eight Division I staffs honored by the United Soccer Coaches organization, as the Aggie trio was tabbed Far West Region Coaching Staff of the Year. Shaffer earned his 200th career Division I coaching victory in a 3-2 win over Loyola Marymount on Sept. 8, and his 200th win as Aggie coach on “senior day” over Causeway rival Sacramento State on Oct. 29.
• After an 0-10 start to the season, UC Riverside finished 4-1-2 in its final seven games to make the Big West Tournament. The Highlanders then collected their first Big West Tournament victory, going on the road to defeat UC Santa Barbara, 1-0. UCR had gone 0-4 in four previous appearances.