Gaucho soccer headed for attendance record

UCSB soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg addresses the luncheon crowd.

Tim Vom Steeg showed up at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon on Monday to thank everyone for showing up to Harder Stadium this season.

His UCSB men are about to become the first Division I NCAA soccer team to average 5,000 fans per home game in a season, and it will almost surely be over 6,000 after Saturday’s contest against UC Riverside. Even if no one showed up at that game, the Gauchos would shatter their own record (last year’s average of 4,335) with a mark of 5,883. The current average is 6,619.

“We’re on the verge of doing something very historic at UCSB, and in college soccer in general,” said the coach.

Vom Steeg will also be one of the featured speakers at Thursday’s SBART Fall Classic, which will include former Gaucho and current Chivas USA goalkeeper Danny Kennedy as well as Marcus Elliot of the Peak Performance Project.

UCSB had two tough road matches last week, losing in overtime at Cal Poly and battling to a tie at UC Irvine, but after Riverside they’ll host a Big West tourney semifinal game on Wednesday.

“It will probably be Cal Poly, at least we’re hoping it is, and then hopefully we’ll see Irvine again,” said Vom Steeg.

SBCC SOCCER DOMINANCE: La Playa Stadium is the home of not one but two superb college soccer teams, as the SBCC men and women are a combined 26-3-4 this season. Sports information director Dave Loveton reported that the men’s team is ranked No. 3 in the state and has the top defense in Southern California. The Vaqueros are hoping for their third consecutive Western State Conference title.

The women, meanwhile, have been led by scoring sensation Jessica Domenichelli and her 18 goals, the fifth-highest total in California. As a team, the offense is second in the state with 71 goals. They’re also second in the WSC and have a crucial home match against first-place Ventura on tap a week from Friday.

WESTMONT HOOPS GOING BIG: The exhibition schedule for the Westmont men’s and women’s basketball teams could easily be confused with that of a top NCAA team. John Moore’s men face UCLA at Pauley Pavilion on Thursday and then head to New York to play St. John’s on Saturday. Kirsten Moore’s women’s team was set to play at Pepperdine on Monday night and has Oregon on the road on Sunday.

BISHOP RECOVERIES: Bishop Diego’s young football team fell to Grace Brethren 27-14 on Saturday, and athletic director Dan Peeters relayed a message from coach Tom Crawford expressing what a disappointment it was.

“We had an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the league, but it didn’t happen. It was a very disappointing evening,” said Peeters.

The two players Peeters introduced, however, have gutted it out to salvage their senior seasons. Both Andrew Saucier and and Alex Ramirez were diagnosed with season-ending injuries earlier in the year but have rehabbed well managed to make it back on the field. In Saucier’s case, he’s had his shoulder pop out of its socket five times so far but has kept suiting up for the Cards.

“A lot of kids would have walked away after the nature of their injuries, but these two fought through the devastation of knowing that much of their senior season would be lost, and they committed themselves to being part of the squad,” said Crawford via Peeters.

MOROPOULOS’ SAFE PREDICTION: SBCC’s football team picked up a 27-21 win at Glendale on Saturday, with much of the credit going to luncheon attendee Chad Toocheck. The receiver had eight receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns before separating his shoulder in the third quarter.

Coach Craig Moropoulos reported that he predicted the Vaqueros were going to win the game, and even though it was a fairly even matchup no one would have disagreed with him.

Why? Well, Glendale’s mascot is also the Vaquero.

Moropoulos also reported that San Marcos High graduate Manny Hernandez is currently the state’s leading tackler.

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