Silva, Kiffe take top Big West awards for midfielder, defender

Seniors Luis Silva and James Kiffe were named the Big West Conference’s Midfielder and Defender of the Year, respectively, it was announced Monday afternoon by the league. Seven total Gauchos were named to 2011 All-Big West teams.

Junior Sam Garza and senior Tim Pontius joined Silva and Kiffe on the All-Big West First Team. Sophomore Dom Sarle, junior Josue Madueno and sophomore Peter Schmetz each earned Honorable Mention accolades.

Luis Silva becomes the fourth Big West Midfielder of the Year in Gaucho history and third-straight following Danny Barrera’s consecutive honors in 2009 and 2010. The Los Angeles, Calif. native has earned his third consecutive All-Big West First Team award after receiving Honorable Mention accolades his freshman year. He is the first player since Andy Iro (2004-07) to earn four all-league honors and just the fifth in program history to do so (Iro, Drew McAthy, Dan Kennedy and Tony Lochhead preceded him).

The midfielder leads the Big West in points (41), points per game (2.05), goals (16) and goals per game (0.80). He is second in assists (9) and shots (73) and third in assists per game (0.45) and shots per game (3.65). He is making his mark in the UCSB and Big West record books, currently ranking eighth all-time in assists (22) and 10th all-time in goals (27) in league lore. In the Gaucho record book, he is tied third in points in a season and career matches played (86), tied fourth in career points (76), fifth in goals in a season, tied sixth in career assists, sixth in career shots (192), tied seventh in career goals and 10th in shots in a season (73).

James Kiffe caps his career with his first Big West distinction and becomes the eighth UCSB player to garner Defender of the Year honors. He is the third straight, following in the footsteps of Martin Hedevag (2009) and Michael Boxall (2010). The Santa Barbara, Calif. native has contributed to both sides of the ball this season. He helped the Gauchos to seven shutouts while also ranking fifth on the team with 10 points (two goals, six assists). Kiffe ranks seventh in the league in assists and eighth in assists per game (0.30).
Sam Garza, who earned 2010 Big West Co-Offensive Player of the Year honors and was named to the 2011 MAC Hermann Watch List, has garnered his second-straight First Team honor. The junior forward is second on the team with 20 points (eight goals, four assists) and leads the Gauchos and the Big West with his 77 shots. Garza scored five of his goals in Big West play and averaged 1.20 points per game in league contests. He led all conference players with three game-winners during Big West games.

Senior Tim Pontius has earned his first career All-Big West honor with his First Team placement. The defender is a critical component of the Gaucho backline this year. He has started in 18 games and has recorded seven points (three goals, one assist). He scored the game-winner in a critical victory over UC Davis, which began a season-best six-game win streak by the Gauchos.

Dom Sarle earns All-Big West Honorable Mention honors after a great first season with the Gauchos. The sophomore transfer is fourth on the team in points (14) and tied first in assists (8). The forward has been a playmaker for UCSB all season and is third in the conference in assists and fourth in assists per game (0.38). He has come up with big goals in big games, scoring against Duke, Akron and UC Irvine in last Saturday’s Big West final.

Junior Josue Madueno has played in every game this season and has started 15. He has scored three goals for the Gauchos and posted one assist. The midfielder has helped the Gauchos immensely on the defensive end of the ball, as well, after several injuries plagued the UCSB backline.

Sophomore Peter Schmetz rounds out the Gaucho honorees. The defender is one of just three players to start and play in all 21 games and leads the squad with 1,850 minutes logged on the pitch this year. He has helped the Gauchos record seven shutouts this season and also provided a goal in the season-opening win against Seattle University.

The Gauchos posted a 14-6-1 overall record during the regular season and finished second in the regular season Big West standings and in the conference tournament.

UCSB has earned the No. 15 seed into the 2011 NCAA Division I Soccer Championship. With the national seed, the Gauchos received a First Round bye and will host a Second Round game on Sunday, Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. UCSB will play the winner of Thursday’s First Round game between Providence (10-7-1) and Dartmouth (8-5-4).

UCSB and league champions UC Irvine represent the Big West Conference in this year’s tournament bracket. The Anteaters are seeded eighth.

Tickets for Sunday’s match are now on sale. Call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, or click here to buy now. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth, high school and college students.

Students that have purchased Loco Passes can pick up their tickets in the Ticket Office anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday or on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you are interested in becoming a Loco Pass member, click here or sign up at any of this week’s home basketball games: men’s basketball vs. Santa Clara (Tuesday), women’s basketball vs. St. Mary’s (Thursday), men’s basketball vs. Westmont (Friday), and women’s basketball vs. Loyola Marymount (Saturday).

Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station. To listen online, click here.