The men’s club soccer team continues league action this weekend against Southern California foes San Diego State University and University of San Diego. The Gauchos (4-0-2 overall, 1-0-1 in league) look to keep their unbeaten streak alive as well as repeat as the California College Cup Soccer League champions. And we’re not talking about a simple repeat, three-peat or even four-peat. The Gauchos are going after an unprecedented seven-peat as CCCSL champions. However, their work will be cut out for them as SDSU and USD are very formidable opponents.
“Typically in the past, SDSU and USD are both pretty good teams,” junior keeper Joel Katz said. “[But] if we play to our potential and put some balls away, we will come away with two wins.”
Katz is currently nursing an injury he suffered in the tie to UC Davis. His status is questionable, but the Gauchos remain confident with sophomore keeper Chris Harris and the backline that has only allowed one goal all year. To replicate last year’s success, the Gauchos will have to keep up their stellar defense and win these next two games.
“Since we tied Davis, it’s absolutely crucial we win these two games [in order to win league],” junior defenseman Roman Stahl said.
The defense is the strength of the UCSB team. The defense only allowed one goal in league last year, and have only relinquished one goal in there six contests this year. Both those goals came against the same team, Davis, a bitter rival from the north. However, the goal from this year’s Davis game is still lingering in the Gauchos’ minds and motivates them to prevent it from happening again.
‘[It’s] very feasible not to give up another goal until Nationals and go 6-0 in the next six games,” captain defender Johnny Walker said.
The USD game will be especially interesting as the Gauchos actually have some history with them. Although the Gauchos defeated the Toreros last year, they have not forgotten about their quarterfinal loss to USD that knocked them out of the national tournament two years ago. The Gauchos would go past the quarterfinals the next year and all the way to the national championship game, which they won. And that’s where they aspire to be at the culmination of this year.
Anything short of a repeat and the Gauchos will be disappointed, but they are on pace to accomplish that. The Gauchos went to the San Diego Aztec Tournament to open up the season and dominated the field. The Aztec tournament is the toughest and most prestigious tournament in West Coast club soccer, and the Gauchos made mincemeat of the competition, to add the tournament win to their already long list of accolades.
The Gauchos will play SDSU at Rob Field this Saturday night. The game will begin at 7:30 p.m. The following afternoon, UCSB will play the USD Toreros at Harder stadium. Kickoff is slated for noon.