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Men's Soccer Tourney Semifinals Set For Saturday



Big West Men's Soccer Release No. 11 – Semifinals

Big West men's soccer tournament action continues Saturday with a pair of semifinal contests - top seed UC Irvine hosts UC Davis while No. 2 seed UC Riverside takes on Cal State Fullerton.


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.

• In 10 previous years of the Big West Tournament, there have been several dramatic moments.  The latest goal in tourney history occurred on Nov. 12, 2016, when CSUN’s Jeremy Degraffenreidt scored at the 1:09.08 mark in the finals against Cal State Fullerton.  The latest goal in regulation happened just last year when Kyle Higgins of UC Davis scored with two seconds remaining against CSUN in the semifinals.  On the flip side, the fastest goal in tourney history belongs to UC Irvine’s Cameron Iwasa, 35 seconds in versus UC Riverside on Nov. 9, 2011.


Then There Were Four
The 11th annual Big West Men’s Soccer Tournament is now onto the semifinals after the two lower seeds – No. 5 UC Davis and No. 6 Cal State Fullerton – won on the road in first round action Wednesday.  Those two clubs remain on the road as top two seeds UC Irvine and UC Riverside look to benefit from extra rest as a result of receiving first round byes.  Semifinal action begins on Saturday as the top-seeded Anteaters host the Aggies, while the second-seeded Highlanders entertain the Titans.  The championship match will take place on Saturday, November 10 at the site of the highest remaining seed.

Food For Thought
CSF and UC Davis are two of the three most successful road teams in the Big West this season.  The Titans are 4-3-5 away from Titan Stadium.  The Aggies are an even better 7-2-2 – and the seven wins the most for the program since 2001 (7-4).  UCI counters as a solid home side at 6-1-1 inside Anteater Stadium.  UCR is 2-4-1 at home this year, the tie coming in a scoreless draw against Cal State Fullerton in the regular season finale October 27.

The Past Is The Past
UCI and UC Davis are meeting for the third time on the Big West Tournament stage.  The Anteaters are 2-0 all-time, having won semifinal matchups in 2013 (2-0) and 2008 (1-0) – both in Irvine.  It’s also the third meeting between CSF and UCR.  The previous two tourney clashes took place in the 2017 and 2014 semifinals.  The Titans won both, including a 2-1 decision at Titan Stadium last year.  CSF blanked the Highlanders by a 3-0 score in Riverside in 2014.

History Lesson
The 10-year run of the tournament has produced four schools as champions.  UC Irvine leads the list with four titles, but none since 2013.  Cal State Fullerton is the reigning tourney champ – and has won three of the last four titles.  CSUN won in 2012 and 2016.  UC Santa Barbara claimed its lone crown in 2010.  As programs seeking inaugural titles, UC Davis has made two unsuccessful trips to the finals (2012 and 2017), while UC Riverside has advanced no further than the semifinals.
The Kuntz Factor
No head coach has experienced more success in a Big West Tournament setting than George Kuntz.  Between stints at UCI and CSF, Kuntz has won seven of the 10 tournament titles.  His teams at UCI won in 2009, 2009, 2011 and 2013.  Once he took over the reins at fellow Orange County side CSF, the Titans promptly captured titles in 2014, 2015 and in 2017.  The 2014 and 2017 title teams won in penalty kicks.  Kuntz owns a Big West Tournament career record of 14-2-4 between the two schools.

Penalty Kicks?  Hint: Don’t Venture There With Fullerton
It appears Cal State Fullerton relishes the pressure of penalty kicks.  Since George Kuntz arrived at CSF in 2014, the Titans have been in a PK situation four times in the Big West Tournament – and have won each time.  The Titans proved their mettle in Wednesday’s first round showdown at UC Santa Barbara, battling to a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes but winning 5-3 in the ensuing PK shootout.  CSF did the same thing to UC Davis both in the 2017 finals (4-3) and 2016 first round (5-3), and to UC Irvine in the 2014 finals (3-2).  Titan players have successfully converted 14 of their last 15 PK attempts.  CSF is attempting to reach the tournament championship match for the fifth straight year.

Cal State Fullerton has set a program record with eight ties in 2018, tying the 2007 UC Riverside squad for the second-most in Big West single-season history.  UC Davis (2014) is the record holder with nine ties.  Over its last eight games, UC Riverside has six shutouts, including in three straight games.  UCR allowed 24 goals en route to a tough 0-7-1 start, but over the last nine contests, has allowed one or less goals in seven of them.


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

Several Coaches Hit Milestones
A number of Big West head coaches have achieved milestones during the 2018 season.

• UC Davis head coach Dwayne Shaffer, in his 22nd year at UC Davis, won his 100th game in the Big West on Sept. 2 against CSU Bakersfield.  He is now 108-92-40 all-time in 11 seasons of coaching at the Division I level.  He is just the seventh individual in history to win 100 games as a Big West coach.  Tim Vom Steeg (237, UC Santa Barbara), George Kuntz (191, UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton), Terry Davila (180, CSUN), Jose Elgorriaga (126, Fresno State), Al Mistri (119, Cal State Fullerton) and Barry Barto (116, UNLV) are the others to accomplish the feat.

• Sacramento State head coach Michael Linenberger – in his 30th year at the helm of the program – earned his 200th career win on Oct. 3 against UC Santa Barbara.  He is 201-297-63 as a head coach, including 44-68-18 during six-plus years in the Big West.

• UC Santa Barbara head coach Tim Vom Steeg picked up his 250th career victory on Aug. 26 versus UC Riverside.  He owns an all-time record of 258-119-48, with 237 of those wins coming while in the Big West.

• CSUN’s Terry Davila surpassed his mentor for the school’s career wins record with a 1-0 triumph over Cal Poly on Oct. 13. The 20th-year head coach earned win No. 193, moving past Marwan Ass’ad, who compiled a 192-102-26 mark from 1983-98.  Davila is now 194-153-51 overall at the school.

Canales Joins Exclusive Club
UC Irvine senior Ivan Canales became the seventh player in Big West history to accumulate career totals of 20 goals and 20 assists.  He recorded his 20th career assist in a 3-2 win at Cal Poly on Oct. 21.  Canales is the Big West’s active career leader in goals (25), assists (20), points (70) and shots taken (142).  He is the conference co-leader in goals with 10 this season.  His current head coach, Yossi Raz, collected 22 goals and 28 assists at CSUN from 2001-04.

Canales Enters Big West Top 10 For Game-Winning Goals

UCI forward Ivan Canales leads the Big West with six game-winning goals this year, the clinching strike coming in wins against James Madison, Loyola Marymount, Brown, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly.  His goal against the Mustangs, coming with just two seconds remaining in overtime, was the ninth game-winner of his career.  That placed him in a tie for eighth all-time in the conference record book with Cal State Fullerton’s Hector Orellana (2001-03).

Career 20 Goals, 20 Assist Club

Name, School Goals Assists Years
Gerrell Elliott, Fresno State 54 28 1988-91
Doug Borgel, UNLV 43 23 1987-90
Luis Silva, UC Santa Barbara 28 23 2008-11
Ivan Canales, UC Irvine 25 20 2015-18
Randy Prescott, Fresno State 23 23 1983-85
Yossi Raz, CSUN 22 28 2001-04
Rich Ryerson, UNLV 20 20 1983-86