MSoc: Strong’s debut garners Big West Defensive PoW award

Sam Strong - UCSB Soccer

UCSB freshman Sam Strong

UC Santa Barbara freshman defender Sam Strong earned a pair of awards on Monday morning, as he was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week in addition to being voted as the Big West Defensive Player of the Week.

Strong, a center back from Santa Barbara, was pivotal in UCSB’s season-opening 1-0 win over Stanford last Friday night.

Marking Stanford All-American Jordan Morris, Strong held the US Men’s National Team member to just one shot in 65 minutes of action.

Alongside holding midfielder Kevin Feucht, goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg, and center back partner Jeff Quezada, Strong helped collectively blank the Cardinal, who dropped four goals on the Gauchos in 2014.

It was UCSB’s first win over Stanford since the 2004 season, and the squad’s first win in a home opener since 2011. However, the Gauchos have now won five consecutive games on Opening Night.

Thanks to the team’s defensive exploits and junior forward Nick DePuy’s game-winning goal, the Gauchos rose as high as No. 13 in the national polls on Monday (Top Drawer).

This week, the Gauchos travel to Albuquerque to participate in the Grange & Ashwill Memorial Invitational hosted by the University of New Mexico. They first play Denver on Friday at 3 p.m. in a neutral contest before battling the host Lobos at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

UCSB’s next home game is on Friday, Sept. 18 against the College of Charleston.