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Men's Soccer

CSUN, UC Davis Join Men's Soccer National Rankings


2018 Men's Soccer Release No. 3

Newcomers to the men's soccer national rankings, both CSUN and UC Davis seek successful roadtrips to the Northwest this week.


The 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary for men’s sports in the Big West Conference, and the 35th for women’s.  All season long the Big West will celebrate the history of all 18 conference-sponsored sports.


• Former UC Irvine standout Brad Evans is one of only three individuals to earn three Player of the Year awards over an entire career.  Evans was the Big West’s inaugural Midfielder of the Year in 2004, then captured back-to-back Offensive Player of the Year accolades in 2005 and 2006.  He is tied for No. 7 all-time in the Big West with 31 career goals.

• On Oct. 20, 1989, UNLV junior Doug Borgel set the Big West single-game record with four goals against UC Irvine.  There have been 43 additional hat tricks, including two others by Borgel, but no one besides Borgel has ever scored four goals in a game.  Borgel ranks No. 4 in league annals with 43 career goals.


UC Davis Enters Top 25
A 3-0-1 start has vaulted UC Davis into the auspices of the United Soccer Coaches top 25 rankings.  The Aggies debuted in this week’s poll at No. 17 nationally, and are the top-ranked club in the Far West Region.  It is the first national ranking for UC Davis in nearly a decade, going back to Dec. 16, 2008, when the Aggies finished No. 19 in the final NSCAA/adidas poll.  UC Davis is unbeaten through four games for the first time since 2014, when that team opened the season 4-0-7.  The squad continues a three-match roadtrip at Gonzaga and Oregon State.

CSUN Cracks National Rankings
CSUN is a member of the top 25 for the first time in four years.  The Matadors entered the Top Drawer Soccer rankings at No. 25 this week following a 3-1-0 start, which included victories over then-No. 17 New Mexico (1-0) and a lopsided 6-1 rout against Utah Valley last week.  CSUN has won three straight heading into a Friday night showdown at No. 9 Washington.  This is the first national ranking for the program since the 2014 preseason edition, in which the NSCAA (No. 24), Soccer America (No. 25) and Top Drawer Soccer (No. 16) had CSUN on the radar.

Kikanovic Receives National Honor
Sacramento State forward Benji Kikanovic was the only freshman selected to Top Drawer Soccer’s 11-player National Team of the Week for his efforts in a wild 5-4 overtime win in come-from-behind fashion at CSU Bakersfield on Friday.  Kikanovic scored just 24 seconds into the match – the fastest goal by a Big West player this season – but the Hornets found themselves trailing 3-1 and 4-2.  After tying the score to send the game into OT, the Hornets got the clinching goal from Kikanovic, who dribbled around two Roadrunner defenders before scoring the winner.

Loving That Extra Time
After enduring a period of 12 straight overtime contests without a win (0-9-3), UC Irvine appears to have gotten the hang of playing past 90 minutes.  The Anteaters are 2-0-1 in OT matches, the latest win a 2-1 thriller over James Madison on Sunday.  Despite playing the final 73 minutes of the match down a man due to a red card, UCI won on a goal by Big West active career leader Ivan Canales, who scored his 16th.  UCI won the 298th game in program history.


Taieb Selected To MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List
UC Santa Barbara junior defender Faouzi Taieb earned a spot on the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, it was announced by United Soccer Coaches and the Missouri Athletic Club.

Taieb is one of 32 student-athletes on the radar for the nation’s most prestigious award which honors the nation’s top player.  He is the eighth Gaucho all-time to crack that list, joining Tyler Rosenlund (2005), Andy Iro (2006, 2007), Eric Avila (2007), Chris Pontius (2008), Sam Garza (2011) and Ismaila Jome (2014).

He is the 13th Big West player to be considered for the MAC Hermann Trophy since 2005.

Taieb, a native of Marseille, France, is a key addition on the Gaucho backline.  A transfer from St. Francis Brooklyn, Taieb earned ECAC and NEC Defensive Player of the Year honors after anchoring a defense that allowed just two goals during conference play.  He also was named to the All-Northeast Region First Team as a sophomore, and as NEC Rookie of the Year as a freshman.

The MAC Hermann Trophy, presented by World Wide Technology, will be announced on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.  Fifteen semifinalists will be named near the end of the college season based on voting by NCAA Division I coaches and from those candidates, three finalists will be placed on the ballot for the coveted award.
Through The Years
Here is a list of Big West players who have appeared on the MAC Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List since 2005.

2018 – Faouzi Taieb, UC Santa Barbara   
2017 – None           
2016 – Nick DePuy, UC Santa Barbara   
2015 – Chase Minter, Cal Poly    
2014 – Sagi Lev-Ari, CSUN              
            Ismaila Jome, UC Santa Barbara       
2013 – Mackenzie Pridham, Cal Poly   
2012 – None       
2011 – Sam Garza, UC Santa Barbara
2010 – Spencer Thompson, UC Irvine
2009 – Patrick Sigler, Cal Poly
2008 – Chris Pontius, UC Santa Barbara
2007 – Andy Iro, UC Santa Barbara
            Eric Avila, UC Santa Barbara
2006 – Andy Iro, UC Santa Barbara
2005 – Tyler Rosenlund, UC Santa Barbara

Shaffer Earns Career Win No. 100 As Big West Head Coach
Dwayne Shaffer, in his 22nd year as the head coach at UC Davis, reached a huge milestone last weekend.  He won his 100th game as a head coach in the Big West, following a 5-1 victory over CSU Bakersfield.  In  11 seasons coaching at the Division I level, Shaffer has compiled a 100-88-38 record.  Shaffer became just the seventh individual in history to win 100 games as a coach in the Big West.  Tim Vom Steeg (227, UC Santa Barbara), George Kuntz (184, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton), Terry Davila (171, CSUN), Jose Elgorriaga (126, Fresno State), Al Mistri (119, Cal State Fullerton) and Barry Barto (116, UNLV) are the others to accomplish the feat.  Vom Steeg, Kuntz and Davila are still leading their respective programs.

Linenberger Nears Coaching Milestone
Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger enters his 30th season seeking a landmark 200th career victory.  He has accumulated a record of 198-288-62 as a head coach, including a mark of 41-59-17 during a six-plus year period in the Big West.  Linenberger has guided the Hornets to the Big West Tournament in each of the last two seasons.

Vom Steeg Collects 250th Career Victory
UC Santa Barbara’s 2-0 start also resulted in head coach Tim Vom Steeg picking up his 250th career victory.    Vom Steeg hit the landmark number when the Gauchos defeated UC Riverside, 3-1, on Aug. 26.  The 20th-year bench boss is now 250-117-46 all-time.  He has 229 of his wins while coaching in the Big West.

Titanic Streak
Cal State Fullerton has recorded 10 or more wins in four straight seasons, the longest current streak among Big West programs.  The Titans have won more games (43) than any other conference school, coinciding with the arrival of head coach George Kuntz in 2015.

Big First Impressions
Two of the nine Big West players who earned recognition on the United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region Teams in 2017 included Nabi Kibunguchy of UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara’s Rodney Michael.  They represented the first two Big West freshmen to earn all-region accolades since UCSB’s Ismaila Jome in 2013.

Cal State Fullerton senior Ross McPhie has accounted for seven career game-winning goals, the most among any current Big West player.  He needs two more to tie former Titan Hector Orellana (2001-03) for eighth all-time in conference history.  The 2017 Big West Co-Midfielder of the Year has a knack for the dramatic, as half of his 14 career goals have clinched wins for the Titans.