Pollsters give unbeaten Gauchos a lift

UCSB made big jumps up in three national polls after its pair of soccer road victories last weekend, and senior forward David Walker received national honors for his performances in the two games.

Walker was chosen to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s National Team of the Week after scoring three goals in wins over West Virginia and Pittsburgh at the West Virginia Nike Classic in Morgantown. Walker scored once in a 2-0 win over the Mountaineers then put away two goals in a 4-3 overtime decision against Pitt. His second goal tied the score in 86th minute, sending the game into overtime. He was named MVP of the tournament.

Walker’s three goals match his goal total of last season.

In the rankings, UCSB vaulted from 10th to fourth in TopDrawer’s poll, the Gauchos’ highest ranking to date. They rose from 16th to No. 6 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America list and from No. 15 to No. 7 in Soccer America’s latest top 25 ratings.

The 3-0 Gauchos return to Harder Stadium on Friday night against Rutgers in a nationally televised match on the Fox Soccer Channel.  Kickoff is at 8 p.m. UCSB lost to Rutgers last year, 3-2, in New Jersey.