Mendez reaps Big West Player of Week award

UCSB's Axel Mendez

UCSB’s Axel Mendez

After scoring two goals and two assists as part of an unbeaten week for the UCSB men’s soccer team, freshman midfielder Axel Mendez was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week, the conference announced on Monday afternoon.

Mendez was involved in three goals in UCSB’s 4-1 win over Sacramento State last Wednesday night. He assisted on sophomore midfielder Andy Perez’s opening goal before notching the next two en route to his first career brace.

His first goal, the game-winner, came off an opportunistic shot after the ball came to him in the box after a failed clearance of a corner kick. He later added an insurance goal by converting on a breakaway made possible by a nice defensive play and subsequent pass from teammate and frequent goal-collaborator Ludwig Ahl.

The Los Angeles native was a key figure in UCSB’s offensive efforts against Cal Poly on Saturday, recording six of the team’s season-high 30 shots. Despite not converting on any of his looks at goal, he fed a perfect ball to Nick DePuy that led to the game-tying goal in front of 14,345 fans at Harder Stadium. The come-from-behind effort ended in a 2-2 draw.

For the season, Mendez has three goals and three assists to go along with a co-team-leading 39 shots. His five points against the Hornets were the most by a Gaucho in a single game since Luis Silva had six (two goals, two assists) at Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 29, 2011.

This is the fourth time this season a UCSB player has received a player of the week nod. DePuy was named the Offensive Player of the Week by the Big West on Oct. 6 while sophomore midfielder/left back Drew Murphy has been honored twice (Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 6, Conference Player of the Week via College Sports Madness on Sept. 30).

This week, Mendez and the Gauchos host UC Davis in their final regular season home game of the year on Wednesday night before traveling to Cal Poly for the second half of this year’s Blue Green rivalry on Sunday evening.