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Men's Soccer

Men's Soccer Conference Play Kicks Off Wednesday



Men's Soccer Weekly Release No. 7

UC Davis earned a top 25 ranking in all three major men's soccer polls ahead of the start of conference competition this week.  The Aggies host Cal Poly among four contests on Wednesday.


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.

• With conference play starting this week, the inaugural regular season champion in the Big West men’s soccer modern era (2001-present) was UC Santa Barbara.  The 2001 Gauchos finished 7-2-1 for 22 points in league play, narrowly edging second place UC Irvine with 21.  It was the first title in the program’s Division I history.

• The Big West had two divisions – North and South – from 2012-17.  The first school to win the Big West Tournament under that format was CSUN – in 2012.  The Matadors defeated UC Davis, 1-0, in the finals and in a battle of division champions.


Welcome To Big West Play
After six seasons of North and South division play, the eight Big West men’s soccer members have merged into a single division as the conference schedule commences on Wednesday.

UC Davis – the 2017 North Division champion – enters conference action with the most wins (7) and best winning percentage (.800) of any Big West school.  The Aggies host Cal Poly and travel to CSUN this week.  CSUN and Cal State Fullerton – the South Division co-champions last year – open up league play at Titan Stadium.  The Matadors boast three wins over ranked teams (New Mexico, Cornell, UCLA), while the Titans lead all Big West squads with five ties.

UC Irvine travels to UC Riverside, looking to win its Big West opener for the first time since 2010.  The Anteaters are 0-6-1 in league openers over the last seven seasons.  The Highlanders are 0-3-1 in their last four Big West home openers.  Meanwhile, UC Santa Barbara is unbeaten in six straight Big West openers, going 5-0-1 during that stretch.  The Gauchos travel to Sacramento State, which owns a three-game winning streak in Big West home openers.

UC Davis Ranked For Fifth Straight Week

UC Davis finished non-conference play with a 7-1-2 record, entering the Big West portion of the ledger with momentum.  The Aggies are the highest ranked Big West team in the NCAA RPI at No. 14 and remain in the United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll for the fifth straight week at No. 16.  That is the longest the program has stayed within the top 25 since a 10 week run in 2008.  The team is also ranked by Top Drawer Soccer (No. 23) and Soccer America (No. 24), marking the first time this season UC Davis has appeared in all three major polls simultaneously.

Aggie Ammunition
UC Davis takes a nine-match road unbeaten streak into Saturday’s contest at CSUN.  The Aggies are 7-0-2 over that span dating back to a 2-0 loss at UC Riverside on Oct. 7 last season.

Cal Poly Registers Another Sellout
Cal Poly logged its biggest win of the year in Sunday’s 1-0 shutout of Blue-Green rival UC Santa Barbara in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075 at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.  The largest crowd in the NCAA this year – and by a wide margin (Grand Canyon drew 6,648 against Wisconsin on Aug. 24) – the last eight matchups between Cal Poly and UCSB at Spanos have sold out.


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 104-89-39 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 199-292-63 as a head coach, including a mark of 42-63-18 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 254-117-46 all-time.  He has 233 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 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 eight career game-winning goals, the most among any current Big West player.  He needs one 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 16 career goals have clinched wins for the Titans.