The Gauchos seek to close out their brilliant month of September with more solid performances this week.
To kick the week off, UCSB traveled away up north on Wednesday to play the Pacific Tigers. The team shut out Pacific by a score of 2-0 behind goals from Australians Finn Ballard-McBride and Will Baynham.
The win boosted UCSB’s overall record to 6-2 and its win-streak to a whopping five games.
Looking ahead, on Saturday, the Gauchos will face their biggest test of the season against the highest-ranked program in the nation — No. 1 Stanford.
So far, Stanford has truly merited the No. 1 in the nation spot when looking at their overall performance on the year. The Cardinals boast an unblemished record of 7-0 on the season. At first glance, much of these results can be attributed to Stanford’s repertoire as a goal-scoring machine, but it should also be noted they’ve allowed only two goals throughout the entire season. Stanford will be coming off their seventh win after defeating San Jose State by 3-0 on Tuesday. So a weekend upset, courtesy of the Gauchos, would be momentous — to say the least.
Stanford enters this one with both an immediate and historical advantage, as the Gauchos trail the Cardinals with an all-time series record of 6-14-2. However, UCSB was victorious when these two teams last met back in 2015, when the Gauchos hosted a 1-0 win at Harder Stadium.
Ones to watch for the Gauchos include senior midfielder Thibault Candia and senior forward Sahid Conteh.
Candia enters this week on fire after scoring a hat trick against UMBC last Sunday; because of this, he was named the Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Week. Candia now has a team-leading four goals to his name, as well as two assists which also places him tied for team-leading in playmaking.
Conteh continues his fine form after earning an assist last time out, which ended up being the set up to Candia’s third goal of that game. With a goal on the season and also tied with a team-leading two assists, Conteh’s dynamism will play a pivotal role in this week’s doubleheader.
Players to look out for on the Stanford team are freshman forward Gabe Segal and senior midfielder Derek Waldeck. Segal leads all Cardinals in scoring with his four goals on the season, whilst Waldeck leads in playmaking with four assists. With two goals for Waldeck as well, he and Segal have both managed to fill up the stat sheets week in and week out; the Gauchos will definitely pay special attention to these two and will plan accordingly to cope with Stanford’s explosive offense.
UCSB hosts No. 1 Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 28. The matchup is set with a 7 p.m. kickoff time.