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Men’s Soccer: UCSB Receives First-Round Bye in NCAA Tournament

The Gauchos, seeded No. 15, will host a game at 7 p.m. Nov. 25.

The UCSB men’s soccer team received the No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the bracket was announced Monday, and the Gauchos will receive a first-round bye in the 48-team field.

UCSB will host the winner of the Cal-University of San Francisco match at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 at Harder Stadium. Tickets are on sale now by calling 805.893.UCSB or visiting www.ucsbgauchos.com.

It is the seventh straight NCAA Tournament selection for the Gauchos (10-6-5), who won the national title in 2006. The Gauchos could face No. 2 seed Maryland if both teams win next Tuesday. That game will be played on either Nov. 29 or Nov. 30.

Wake Forest, which defeated the Gauchos 6-2 in Sept., drew the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Deamon Deacons are slotted on the other side of the bracket.

“We said to everybody that if we could finish in the top 16 and avoid having to play a team like UCLA, who is playing very well, then that would be a good draw for us,” said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. “Obviously along the way you want to avoid a Wake Forest.”

The Big West received four bids into the tournament with Big West Tournament winner UC Irvine nabbing the No. 14 seed, one higher than the Gauchos. The Anteaters beat UCSB, 4-2, on Saturday to win the conference championship.

Cal Poly, whom the Gauchos got past in the Big West Tournament semifinal match, will play at UCLA on Friday night with the winner playing at UC Irvine. UC Davis, which lost to UC Irvine in the semifinals of the conference tournament, will play Denver on Saturday with the winner playing at No. 11 Michigan.

“With four Big West schools getting in – and two seeded – it was a good year for the Big West,” Vom Steeg said.

California will host USF at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Golden Bears are 10-3-5 this year while San Francisco is 9-9-2, with the winner playing at Harder Stadium on Tuesday. In the lifetime series with each school, UCSB is 11-14-3 against Cal and 1-1-1 vs. San Francisco.

The Gauchos are led by senior Chris Pontius, who has 14 goals and 32 total points, and senior Nick Perera, who has eight goals and 19 points. Each number is a career-high mark for both forwards.

The College Cup Final Four will be held this year in Frisco, Texas, beginning Dec. 12. The national championship game will be Dec. 14. This is the 50th anniversary of the College Cup.

Matt Hurst is a UCSB assistant director of athletics communications.

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