The defending Big West champion, the UCSB soccer team, put the nation on notice this spring that it has bigger aspirations this upcoming season.

The Gauchos defeated defending national champ UCLA 2-1April 13 in Fullerton. Sophomore forward Drew McAthy, second on the team last year with 17 goals, notched a goal and freshman defender Pat Scott added the other goal.

UCSB remains undefeated in the spring thus far, with six wins and two ties in eight games. One of those wins came against the PDL Blue Stars, who feature four-time World Cup participant and 1995 World Soccer Player of the Year German striker Jurgen Klinsmann.

McAthy will be relied on this year to soften the blow of losing All-American Rob Friend, who was selected by the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer. McAthy has responded well this spring, scoring a team-high eight goals. Junior Forward Gene Deering also has provided an offensive threat for the Gauchos, tallying three goals.

UCSB is coming off of the best season in program history, a year in which it recorded 18 wins and its first postseason victory, 2-0 over San Diego. California finally slowed the Gauchos down four days later in Berkeley with a 2-1 win, ending UCSB’s season.

The team returns McAthy, who was second in the Big West in goals behind Friend and third all time, to lead the offensive attack. The offense will also feature Deering and junior midfielders Matt Kubota, Neil Jones, Memo Arzate and David McGill.