Cal Takes on No. 11 Seed Santa Barbara in NCAA Second Round
Nov. 24, 2003
Berkeley, Calif. -
THIS WEEK: Wednesday, Nov. 26Santa Barbara, Harder StadiumSanta Barbara, CA 7:00 p.m.
WHAT'S ON TAP: Having advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, California (11-8-2, 5-4-1 Pac-10) heads south to take on its identical opponent from last year's NCAA second round - UC Santa Barbara (15-4-1, 7-3-0 Big West).This year though, it is the No. 11 seeded Gauchos hosting the Golden Bears on Wed., Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. The Bears have closed their regular season and begun their postseason with a flourish, winning four in a row and six out of their last eight matches, to claim a third-place tie in the Pac-10 standings and a third straight NCAA postseason berth. Fresh off a 2-1 NCAA first round victory over San Jose State, Cal will be looking to make its second consecutive appearance in the third round with a win in Santa Barbara. Should the Bears win, they would play either No. 6 seed St. John's or Connecticut, Saturday Nov. 29 in the Sweet Sixteen. The 48-team tournament will culminate in Columbus, Ohio for the College Cup Finals, Dec 12-14.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM : The Golden Bears are making their third consecutive trip to soccer's annual big dance and tenth overall. The NCAA postseason streak marks the longest in the program's history. Last year, Cal advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history, before losing, 3-2, to eventual national champion UCLA. The Bears defeated UC Santa Barbara, 2-1, in their second round match in Berkeley. The Cal victory over San Jose State last week marked the third time Cal has hosted a NCAA Tournament game and improves their home postseason record to 2-1. The Bears will now have to advance on the road where they hold a 0-8 all-time postseason mark.
CAL IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENTYear Event Site Opponent/Score1960 Midwest Regional at St. Louis, MO Saint Louis 2, California 01977 Far West Regional at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 01981 Far West Regional Berkeley, CA SDSU 4, California 01983 Far West Regional at Las Vegas, NV UNLV 3, California 1 (OT)1985 Far West Regional at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 11986 Midwest Regional at St. Louis, MO Saint Louis 2, California 11996 Far West Regional at Fresno, CA Fresno State 2, California 12001 Far West Regional at Stanford, CA Santa Clara 1, California 0 (3 OT)2002 Second Round Berkeley, CA California 2, UC Santa Barbara 1 Sweet 16 at Los Angeles, CA UCLA 3, California 22003 Far West Regional Berkeley, CA California 2, San Jose State 0 Second Round Santa Barbara, CA
SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS: The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos entered the NCAA Tournament after receiving an at-large bid and first round bye after a second place finish in the Big West conference. They have won four out of their last five games, outscoring their opponents, 8-4. Led by Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year Memo Arzate (29 points in 20 games) and Big West Goalkeeper of the Year Dan Kennedy (seven shutouts), the Gauchos have outscored their opponents all year by a margin of two to one. Leading the offensive charge are forwards Drew McAthy (13 goals) and Neil Jones (12 goals), who have accounted for 63 percent of the Gauchos offense. Even if the Bears go up early, don't expect the Gauchos to be intimidated. They have scored 29 of their 40 goals after the first half.
BEARS WIN A WILD ONE TO ADVANCE TO SECOND ROUND: On a blustery day at Edwards Stadium, Cal overcame a tempest on the field to advance past San Jose State, 2-0. The first half saw two early goals for the Bears. In the 8th minute, Yohei Fukuda found space on the right side and sent a slow rolling shot into the goal. Lightning struck twice in the 12th minute, when Kyle Navarro scored from a similar spot on the field with a similar shot. Both shots went through traffic and both caught the San Jose State goalkeeper off-guard. The rest of the first half was extremely physical with yellow cards being issued on both sides. In the end, Cal prevailed using its trademark tight defense.
THREE FIRST TEAM ALL-PAC PLAYERS IS MOST EVER: Junior midfielder Mike Munoz, junior defender Troy Roberts and junior forward Carl Acosta all landed on the All-Pac-10 first team this year. The honor was Munoz's third All-Pac-10 nod in a row, Roberts second in a row and Acosta's first. Three first-team players eclipses the previous high mark of two set last season. In all, eight Bears received All-Pac-10 recognition. Junior defender Noah Merl was the only Bear on the second team, while sophomore midfielder Nick Hatzke, sophomore goalkeeper Mike Oseguera, sophomore defender/ midfielder Tyson Wahl and freshman defender/ midfielder Steve Purdy all received honorable mention.
BEARS FINISH PAC-10 IN A TIE FOR THIRD: Cal finished third in conference play, with Washington trailing only UCLA and Oregon State. All three of those teams joined the Bears in the NCAA Tournament. Both the No. 1 seeded Bruins and the No. 10 seeded Huskies will host second round games, while Oregon State lost a first round game, 3-2 to Portland. In the conference's fourth year of existence for soccer, this is Cal's second consecutive year finishing with an above .500 conference record. Last season, Cal went 6-3-1 on its way to a second place Pac-10 finish.
2003 FINAL PAC-10 MEN'S SOCCER STANDINGS: Conf. OverallUCLA 10-0-0 18-1-0Oregon State 7-3-0 13-6-0California 5-4-1 10-8-2Washington 5-4-1 12-4-2Fresno State 2-8-0 5-13-0Stanford 0-10-0 3-15-2
BEARS' 1-0 WIN OVER STANFORD COMPLETES FIRST EVER SEASON SWEEP: With a trip to the postseason on the line, Cal came up big in its second game against Stanford. After winning the first meeting, 3-1, at home on Oct. 5 to start the Pac-10 season, the Bears toppled Stanford, 1-0, in Palo Alto on Nov. 15. Carl Acosta scored in the 33rd minute and a stout Cal defense held Stanford to four shots. The win completed a first ever season sweep. In fact, Cal holds a 3-0-1 record over the Cardinal the last two years.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS: Cal is hoping the old adage proves true yet again during their 2003 NCAA Tournament run. The defense was thought to be the strength of the team this year with experienced veterans Troy Roberts, Noah Merl and Kyle Navarro anchoring the back line. All three are physical, technically sound defenders. Roberts and Merl usually draw the toughest assignments in the center defensive positions and thankfully for Cal, they have been up to the task. The Bears posted six shutouts this year, tied for sixth in the Pac-10, all with sophomore goalkeeper Mike Oseguera in net. Their 1.15 goals against average is third in the conference. While Cal has been difficult to score on, the defense has also been the catalyst for the offense. Many of Cal's scoring opportunities have been generated by defender runs on the wings.
ACOSTA AND MUNOZ LEAD ATTACK: Junior forward Carl Acosta and junior midfielder Mike Munoz have been the centerpieces of Cal's offensive attack. Listed at 5-4, 130 pounds, Acosta routinely goes up against defenders with a tremendous physical advantage over him. Yet, often it is the Bears' striker that gets the better of his opposition. Using a quick first step and powerful shot, Acosta has led the Bears this season with nine goals in 18 games. Cal will need him return to his mid-season form, when he netted seven goals over a nine match stretch. His career-best nine goals this season lead the team. Munoz has often partnered with Acosta up front and also has dropped back into an attacking midfield role. He led the team in shots with 45 and shots on goal with 19. His 10 points were good for second on the team. If the Bears look to advance deep into the tournament, these two will need to be major contributors, as they have been all season.
ON A TEAM LED BY JUNIORS, SOPHOMORES AND FRESHMEN BEGIN TO MAKE AN IMPACT: Cal has guaranteed itself a sound future by integrating many of its younger players into the lineup and bringing them in for a spark as substitutes. Sophomore's Tyson Wahl and Nick Hatzke have been a consistent presence in midfield for the Bears. Wahl plays a defensive role, sometimes playing on the back line, while Hatzke is one of the key distributors of the ball to the forwards. Sophomore Pieter Berger and freshman Andrew Jacobson have been used off the bench as big attackers, capable of winning balls up front. Sophomore Garrett Terracciano, and freshman Eric Ebert have added depth and often a spark to the Golden Bear midfield. Steve Purdy has been the most consistent freshman Bears' starter, playing on the back line and in a defensive midfield position. Playing on the outside or in the interior, he is capable of making attacking runs up the field. Cal is led by a core of juniors, but these sophomores and freshmen are beginning to make their presence felt - a good sign that the program is healthy.
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