The UCSB men’s club soccer team may be the most dominant sport club on campus.
The Gauchos continued their supremacy of the California College Club Soccer League, defeating UC Irvine 4-0 Saturday and ending the weekend with a 5-0 thumping of UCLA on Sunday at Harder Stadium. Santa Barbara (10-0-1 overall, 7-0-0 in the CCCSL) finishes the regular season with more than twice as many wins as any other conference foe en route to earning its fifth straight CCCSL regular season title.
Junior forward Corey Vermillion was the offensive star for UCSB, netting the first two goals against the Bruins after the teams headed to the locker room in a scoreless tie. The five-goal win over UCLA was Santa Barbara’s largest margin of victory this year, and the Gauchos have scored at least three goals in a contest for three straight games. A plethora of players contributed to UCSB’s offensive outburst, including senior defender and captain Joe Ferreira, who found the back of the net once and helped stymie the Bruin and Anteater (2-7-2, 1-5-1 CCCSL) attack. Between the pipes, senior goalkeeper Mike McAndrews was solid as usual, notching his ninth and 10th shutouts of the year. McAndrews has allowed only two goals all season and none in the squad’s last six matches, amassing a scoreless streak of more than 540 minutes.
“Our defense has held everyone at bay,” Ferreira said. “Defense has been a strength of the team for the last few years and this year we’re putting it together with our offense, too.”
Santa Barbara, one of eight clubs in the CCCSL’s Upper Tier division, belongs in a level all to itself with the way it has cruised through the competition. The Gauchos have outscored league opponents 23-1 and their goal differential of 22 is miles ahead of UC Davis’ 4, which is the conference’s second best margin. The squad’s only blemish was a 1-1 tie against Arizona State in the second game of the year during an early-season tournament.
“It’s been great, especially with this being my last year, but this year was the most convincing with not too many close games,” Ferreira said. “It’s been a rare experience to be so dominant and hopefully it continues.”
The Bruins (3-2-2) had a chance to move into second place with a win, but instead fell into a three-way tie for third place, one point behind second-place UC Davis (3-2-4, 3-1-3 CCCSL). Remaining near the bottom of the league ladder are the Anteaters, who have allowed 16 goals on the year, the second worst mark in the league. Santa Barbara finishes the year with 21 points, with the Aggies finishing in a distant second with 12 points.
After an impressive run through the regular season, UCSB turns its sights to next weekend’s California Championship Tournament. The Gauchos made a run all the way to the national quarterfinals a year ago and hope their dominating play carries them even further this time around.
“We’re feeling good [heading into the CCT], but you never know,” Ferreira said. “It’s always hard to win three in a row, and some of the teams we’ll see we’ve never faced.”