Opponent Preview: Wolverines return home to face Gauchos after long road trip

Photo credit: UVU Athletics

Utah Valley University vs University of California Santa Barbara

Where: Orem, Utah.

When: Friday, Sept. 14. 7 p.m.

The UVU men’s soccer team started the regular season off strong this year. The Wolverines won their first three games and outscored opponents 10-1 overall. They didn’t give up a single goal until their third game against the University of California Irvine and came out on top 2-1. However, UVU had its first loss against California State University, Northridge, where it was beaten 6-1 Sept. 2.

If there is anything that the Wolverines have shown in their early games, it’s that it can play shutdown defense and capitalize on opportunities on offense. The team will hope to bounce back from it’s game against CSU Northridge and keep playing like it did in its opening three games.

 

Quick Glance: University of California Santa Barbara

Nickname: Gauchos

Location: Santa Barbara, Calif.

Conference: Big West (BWC)

2017 Season: 6-8-5 (overall), 4-3-3 (conference), 4-3-4 (home), 2-5-1 (away)

2018 Season (through Sept. 4, 2018): 2-2

 

UC Santa Barbara started off its season much like UVU, winning its first two home games. UCSB was able to shutout Saint John’s in its home opener 2-0, and had a follow-up victory against UC Riverside 3-1. Since their Aug. 26 win, things have gone downhill for the Gauchos. They dropped their first road game against the University of Portland 1-0 on Sept. 31, and then lost 2-0 against Seattle University.

Freshman forward, Carter Clemmensen, has been the player to watch for the Gauchos. He has scored two of its total four goals and is tied for fourth in the Big West Conference for total goals scored.

Goalkeeper, Ben Roach, has also been impressive for UC Santa Barbara. He has played every match to completion and had a total of 12 saves so far this season. The freshman has one shutout on the season and will force UVU to work for every goal against him.

Both UVU and UCSB will be meeting right after facing its first losses of the season. The big difference so far between the two teams has been offensive firepower, with the Wolverines having 10 total goals on the season while the Gauchos only having four. UVU will enter this match with a slight advantage but should be looking to face a UCSB team that also started things off strong to begin the season.

This game comes at a key time in the season for UVU. In 2017, the Wolverines started off 4-1 but then went winless from Sept. 15 to Oct. 8. Things were looking optimistic in the previous season at this time, and then quickly went downhill.  It will be key for the team to keep the momentum moving forward and avoid a mid season drought altogether. Its Sept. 14 match will be telling of which direction the Wolverines will be heading for the remainder of the season.

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