Gauchos, Warriors kick off season in Bryant & Sons Cup

UCSB and Westmont face off at Harder Stadium on Saturday night.

UCSB and Westmont face off at Harder Stadium on Saturday night.


The UCSB men’s soccer team will open a new campaign this Saturday when it hosts crosstown rival Westmont in an annual exhibition for the Bryant & Sons Cup.

It will be the 51st meeting between the two schools in the annual Bryant & Sons Cup series, which has seen UCSB win the past 13 contests to even the overall series at 23-23-4. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at UCSB’s Harder Stadium.

In last year’s season-opener against the Warriors, UCSB outshot the opposition 20-1 in a 3-0 win. Achille Campion opened the day’s scoring with a fourth minute goal, then freshmen midfielders Andy Perez and Paul Ehmann both found the back of the net in the second half in their UCSB debuts. Drew Murphy gave a preview of what was to come in his freshman season by recording a pair of assists.

Leading up to this season, UCSB was a unanimous selection to win the Big West North Division in the annual Preseason Big West Coaches Poll, which was released on Thursday. Receiving all eight first-place votes, the Gauchos have now been picked to win the conference in 13 consecutive seasons (North Division since 2012).

Rankings-wise, the Gauchos have been ranked in each of the major national preseason polls that have been released so far, coming in as high as No. 15 (College Soccer News). Elsewhere, they check in at No. 18 (NSCAA) and No. 23 (College Sports Madness, Top Drawer Soccer).

The Gauchos are coming off a 12-6-3 overall record in 2013, going 8-2-3 in the final 13 games of the season after opening the year with a 4-4 mark. UCSB hit its stride in conference play, going an undefeated 7-0-3 en route to the Big West North Division crown. Ranked as high as No. 3 in the RPI over the course of the season, the Gauchos received a No. 10 national seed in the NCAA Tournament, but were dispatched by Penn State in the second round in a 1-0 loss that featured a controversial sixth-minute red card to then-senior midfielder Fifi Baiden.

The Warriors went 11-7 last season and reached the GSAC semifinals.