MSoc: UCSB’s DePuy reaps weekly soccer awards

Nick DePuy - UCSB Soccer

UCSB’s Nick DePuy

After scoring three goals – including two game-winners – to lead UCSB to a perfect 2-0-0 road weekend at UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge, UC Santa Barbara junior forward Nick DePuy has been named the College Soccer News National Player of the Week, the website announced on Monday.

In addition, he was voted as the Big West Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive Monday.

The honor comes almost a year to the day after he won his first career National Player of the Week honor for putting in clutch performances against the exact same teams, as DePuy was handed the award on Oct. 6, 2014 after netting game-winning goals at home against the Anteaters and Matadors.

With the score tied 1-1 in the 12th minute at UC Irvine on Thursday, DePuy made a run through the left side of box and found himself on the end of an excellent through ball from teammate Randy Mendoza, getting a good first touch and beating the UCI keeper short side. His marker held up as the deciding goal thanks to strong defense from the Gauchos and an 87th minute insurance tally from junior midfielder Josue Espana.

He proceeded to record a brace against CSUN in a 2-1 Gaucho win on Saturday evening. One of the premier aerial threats in the country, DePuy headed home an Andy Perez cross in the 38th minute to put UCSB up 1-0. Then in overtime, a DePuy flick at the top of the penalty area set up a scoring chance for Seo-In Kim, whose shot led to a scramble in front of net that ended with DePuy banging home a rebound from close range.

With 10 goals on the season and 19 tallies in 24 appearances since converting to forward midway through the 2014 season, DePuy has established himself as one of the elite goal-scorers in college soccer. He co-leads the entire NCAA with five game-winning goals, and his 10 goals rank third among all Division I players.

The 2014 Big West Offensive Player of the Year currently leads the conference in goals, game-winning goals, points (21), and shots (38).

With eight regular season games remaining, DePuy is halfway to the UCSB program record of 20 single-season goals, set by Rob Friend in 2002.

In the midst of a season-best three game win streak, DePuy and the Gauchos return to Harder Stadium this weekend to take on Big West South rivals UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton. The Gauchos haven’t lost a regular season conference contest at home since 2012. With UCSB’s next win in conference play, head coach Tim Vom Steeg will become the first coach ever to win 100 games against Big West opponents.