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.
DID YOU KNOW?
• UC Riverside’s Charles Alamo, the 2007 Big West Goalkeeper of the Year, is part of an exclusive conference club. He is one of just four individuals to surpass the career 300 save plateau. Alamo racked up 305 saves from 2003-07 to finish No. 4 all-time in Big West history. He made a career-high 12 saves against CSUN as a freshman in 2003.
• Quincy Amarikwa owns the distinction as the only Big West Offensive Player of the Year in UC Davis history. The forward earned the award in 2008 after scoring a league-high 15 goals, including five game-winners. Amarikwa was No. 2 in the conference with 31 points that year.
CSUN, UC Davis Ranked No. 13 In Separate Polls
Strong starts to the 2018 season have put the CSUN and UC Davis men’s soccer programs on the national polls radar. Top Drawer Soccer pegged CSUN at No. 13 nationally this week after the Matadors upended two ranked opponents – No. 17 Cornell and No. 11 UCLA – to improve to 6-2-0 on the year. CSUN was ranked No. 25 by the same outlet on Sept. 4 before falling out of the top 25 the next week. CSUN is also ranked No. 16 by Soccer America and receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
At 5-0-2 overall, UC Davis is unbeaten through seven games for the first time since 2014. The Aggies moved up four spots to No. 13 in the United Soccer Coaches rankings after tying Oregon State on the road and knocking off Santa Clara at home. UC Davis enters Tuesday’s match at Utah Valley with a 9-0-3 record in its last 12 matches, having not lost since a 3-2 overtime decision against Cal Poly on Oct. 18 of last season.
More Ranked Opponents On The Way
Big West squads have toppled four ranked foes this season – CSUN (vs. No. 17 New Mexico, vs. No. 17 Cornell, vs. No. 11 UCLA) and UC Santa Barbara (vs. No. 25 Butler) – while Sacramento State tied No. 22 Portland. UCSB and UC Davis get their shot this week at defeating one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the country – No. 17 Saint Mary’s in the Sept. 18 United Soccer Coaches poll. The Gaels are 7-0 along with Wake Forest (7-0) and Rhode Island (5-0). In addition, UCSB hosts No. 15 UCLA on Saturday.
‘Eaters Off To Another Strong Start
UC Irvine is 5-2-1 through eight games for the second straight season under head coach Yossi Raz. The Anteaters have two tough road matches against San Francisco and Pacific this week. The last time UCI had at least seven wins through its first 10 matches was 2014 (9-0-1).
Aggies In Elite Company
UC Davis enters this week as one of just 15 programs in Division I with an unbeaten record (5-0-2).
Home Field Advantage
Four Big West squads are undefeated at home so far this season – Cal Poly (1-0), CSUN (3-0), UC Davis (2-0) and UC Santa Barbara (3-0). All four have home games this week.
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 on Sept. 2. 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 102-88-39 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 198-290-63 as a head coach, including a mark of 41-61-18 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 to the season 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 252-117-46 all-time. He has 231 of his wins while coaching in the Big West.
Cal State Fullerton has recorded 10 or more wins in four straight seasons, the longest current streak among Big West programs. The Titans won more games (43) than any other conference school in that four-year span, 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.