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MORNING BRIEFING: Big West showdowns on tap
by Paul Kennedy, September 30th, 2008 2:15PM



It will be a big week in the Big West, which had three teams -- No. 16 UC Santa Barbara (5-3-0), No. 20 UC Davis (8-1-0) and No. 25 UC Irvine (7-0-2) -- move into the Soccer America Men's Top 25. UC Irvine hosts UCD on Wednesday and UCSB on Saturday.

The Gauchos, who won the 2006 national title but suffered major losses in the offseason, recovered from a 6-2 loss to Wake Forest with a 2-1 win at Indiana.

"I think we learned a lot from the Wake Forest game and it taught us we're not playing at a level high enough to beat anybody," said UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg.

UCSB got first-half goals from goals from Alfonso Motagalvan and Chris Pontius and a sterling game in goal by freshman Kristopher Minton.

"We played the best first half of the season and we really moved the ball around well and created good opportunities," Vom Steeg said.

Soccer interest is high at UC Davis, where a sellout crowd of 1,250 at Aggie Soccer Stadium saw the Aggies beat Air Force, 4-1, on Saturday afternoon.

Seniors Ahmad Hatifie and Quincy Amarikwa both scored two goals, and fellow senior Sule Anibaba had two assists as UC Davis overcame an early deficit.

The Aggies have now won six consecutive games.

UC Irvine defeated Cal State Bakersfield 2-1 in its final non-conference match of the season.

Matt Murphy leads the Anteaters with five goals and three assists, while sophomore Spencer Thompson has four goals and four assists.

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