Gauchos tie up first Big West Tournament crown

National Championship. Big West Conference title. NSCAA National Coach of the Year. There are not many things Tim Vom Steeg hasn’t accomplished in his 12 years as coach of UCSB’s men’s soccer team.

Yet Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton was the first Big West Tournament title for the coach and the Gauchos, a trophy that eluded them in their first two tries.

“Our goal was to bounce,” Vom Steeg said after the game. “We were a little disappointed by not winning the Big West championship regular season, but this is actually a little bit nicer because you’re trying to do things for the first time and this was our first Big West Tournament Championship, so it was fun.”

The Gaucho players had a little fun with their coach, dousing him with the water cooler in celebration.

“It was cold. I mean that was ice that came down the back,” said Vom Steeg.

Michael Tetteh, left, and Machael David, right, reach Danny Barrera first to celebrate Barrera's goal on Saturday.

Josue Madueno fights to gain posession of the ball just before he scored the third goal of the game.

UCSB (13-4-3) awaits Monday’s Selection Show when they will find out their NCAA Tournament fate. Vom Steeg has led the Gauchos to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Selection Show can be seen on ESPN2 at 2 p.m.

“We had huge wins against Duke and UCLA but the reality is our conference was down this year,” Vom Steeg said when asked about UCSB’s potential NCAA placement. “Realistically I think we’ll have a home game but I very much doubt we’ll get a seed.”

With the return of Machael David from a one-game suspension, the Gauchos looked dangerous and repeatedly threatened Titans goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon with 25 shots. Whiddon recorded 12 saves in the game but gave up consecutive goals to Danny Barrera and Luis Silva as the Gauchos held a 2-0 lead by the 24th minute.

“That’s what we try to do is score the quick goal in the first half,” Silva said. “That gives us more energy and opens up the game more for us. We did a good job this game.”

Fullerton managed only two shots in the first half but converted on one of them. Kevin Venegas fed Jesse Escalante on a free kick from the right side and Escalante rose above his defender to head the ball into the upper-left corner for a goal.

But UCSB hadn’t won eight straight at Harder Stadium for nothing.

The second half saw UCSB take even more shots than the first half (15-10) with Josue Madueno breaking through for the Gauchos’ third goal in the 68th minute.

“It feels good,” said UCSB’s Luis Silva of the win. “It’s just a little boost looking forward to the NCAA Tournament, which is the most important thing for us.”

UCSB goalie Sam Hayden goes up to snare a dangerous cross in the second period.


  1. Lori Campbell says

    Go Gauchos!!! I miss sitting in the stands and watching the T-shirts fly when the Gauchos score! I will always have pride in being a tiny part of such a great program. What was always even more satisfying was seeing what great guys the coaching staff turned out of their program. Even the ones that came in a little cocky seemed to leave with the knowledge of how to be a team player both on & off the field!! Thanks for the memories Coach!!