Gauchos get first-round bye, 10th seed for NCAA soccer tournament

UCSB men’s soccer is back in the NCAA Tournament.

UCSB received the No. 10 seed and a first-round bye when the 48-team tournament field was announced Monday morning.

The Gauchos (12-5-3) will host the winner of a Thursday first-round match between Penn State (11-5-2) and St. Francis-Brooklyn (12-5-1). The second-round game will be played on Sunday at Harder Stadium at 6 p.m.

“It’s great to see where we ended up,” said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. “It’s about as good as we could have hoped for. Getting that bye is critical for us, looking where our team is at right now. Having those extra days to rest our players and reassess some of our injuries is the reward for us having played a very tough schedule.”


UCSB had a streak of 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances snapped last season. During that streak, the Gauchos finished as College Cup runners-up in 2004 and won the national championship in 2006.

This season, UCSB went unbeaten (7-0-3) in Big West regular season play and had an 11-match unbeaten streak until falling to Cal State Northridge in the Big West Tournament semifinals last Friday night.

The Gauchos will be without two starting players for the second-round NCAA match. Midfielder Drew Murphy and defender Kevin Garcia-Lopez have to sit out one-game suspensions for receiving red cards in the semifinal loss against Cal State Northridge.

The Gauchos hope to get injured forward Achille Campion and center back Peter Schmetz back for their NCAA opener.

The West Region is well represented in the tournament field. Seven of the 16 seeds are west teams, led by top-seeded UCLA (11-3-4) and No. 2 Washington (14-1-4) from the Pac 12. Cal is the fourth seed and New Mexico is No. 7. UCSB, Big West Tournament champion UC Irvine (12th) and Cal State Northridge (15th) round out the seeds from the West, marking the first time in conference history that three conference teams have been seeded in the NCAA tournament.

UC Irvine will host the winner of North Carolina vs. South Florida, while Northridge plays either Loyola Marymount or Stanford.

One of the more intriguing match-ups in the first round is defending champion Indiana playing Akron.

Georgetown, which includes former Cate standout Joshua Yaro, and was last year’s College Cup runner-up, is back in the tournament and is the No. 6 seed. The Hoyas 13-4-2.

This year’s College Cup Final Four is being played at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Dec. 13 and 15.