Santa Barbara soccer will be exposed to a nationwide TV audience Friday night (Sept. 11) when the UCSB men’s team faces visiting Rutgers. The 8 p.m. match is the first of two Games of the Week on the Fox Soccer Channel that will originate at Harder Stadium this season. On October 2, the Gauchos will take on Big 10 power Indiana in a rematch of the 2004 NCAA championship game, which the Hoosiers won on penalty kicks.
Rutgers has one of the top college teams in the East. The Scarlet Knights have made three appearances in the NCAA Final Four in the last decade.
UCSB has advanced to the NCAA tournament for seven consecutive years under Coach Tim Vom Steeg, and in 2006 the Gauchos won the national championship. Because of the quality of their program and the community support-they led the nation in attendance last year-UCSB has been chosen to host the NCAA Final Four in 2010.
The Gauchos, ranked as high as No. 10 in the national preseason polls, have won three straight games to start this season. In the West Virginia/Nike Classic last weekend, they blanked the host Mountaineers 2-0 and defeated Pittsburgh 4-3 in overtime. They also outscored Cal State Bakersfield 3-1 in their home opener. Leading scorers for UCSB are senior forward David Walker with three goals, and freshman Michael Nonni with two goals and three assists.
Rutgers comes out to California with a 3-1 record. The Scarlet Knights pinned a 3-2 loss on UCSB a year ago in New Jersey.