The Big West Men's Soccer Notebook: UC Irvine Ready for NCAA Championship (2024)

The Big West Men's Soccer Notebook: UC Irvine Ready for NCAA Championship (1)

2023 Big West Men’s Soccer Schedule | Standings | Stats |NCAA ChampionshipNotes (.pdf)

What 2 Watch 4
The 48-team field for the 2023 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship was announced on Monday and UC Irvine, The Big West representative, will make a trip up the 405 to take on Loyola Marymount in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 16. The match will be played at Sullivan Field on LMU’s campus. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. The winner will take on No. 13 seed UCLA (9-3-5), the Pac-12 champion, on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.
The Anteaters won The Big West Championship over UC Davis in penalty kicks, 8-7, to earn the conference’s automatic berth into the national tournament.

The Anteaters are 17-11-2 all-time against the Lions. The most recent meeting was a 1-0 decision in favor of LMU in 2022.

This is UC Irvine’s seventh NCAA Championship appearance, and second under seventh-year head coach Yossi Raz. The Anteaters’ last appearance in the national tournament was in 2018 where they were eliminated in the second round.

Both contests are set to air on ESPN+, The Big West’s exclusive broadcast rights holder.Check the listings here to watch your favorite Big West teams in action.

Together We Zot
UC Irvine (9-6-4) is led by All-Big West First Team defenders Mathias Winum (1 assist) and Ricardo Ibarra (2 goals), and Second Team midfielder Oscar Cervantes (2 goals, 2 assists) and goalkeeper Luke Pruter (48 saves). The Anteaters sport a miniscule goals-against average of 0.89. On offense, UC Irvine distributes the ball evenly with 13 different goal scorers this season and eight different players hitting game-winners. Agaton Pourshahidi leads the team with three goals.

About the Lions
LMU (7-4-6) earned an at-large bid into the national tournament after finishing fifth in the West Coast Conference. The Lions are led on offense by Ryan Kingsford and Tyger Smalls who have four goals each. The LMU defense, led by goalkeeper Massimo Oedekoven Pomponi, has a goals-against average of 0.94.

About the Bruins
UCLA (9-3-5) won the Pac-12 with a 6-0-4 conference record. The Bruins average two goals per game, led by Jack Sarkos with nine goals. Other key players for UCLA are Andre Ochoa (four goals, seven assists), Ryan Becher (five goals, two assists, Jose Contell (three goals, six assists) and Tommy Silva (eight assists).

Big West Championship Recap

First Round

No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara and No. 4 seed UC Davis advance out of their respective first round matchups on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

The Aggies defeated No. 5 seed Cal Poly with a 1-0 decision. UC Davis scored the lone goal of the game in the 81st minute as sophomre forward Chase Tanon was able to collect a pass from senior midfielder Ryan Dieter on the right side and laced a right-footed shot into the lower-right corner of the net.

The Gauchos defeated No. 6 seed UC Riverside 3-2 in comeback fashion. Down by two goals, the Gauchos halved the deficit in the 54th minute. Sophom*ore forward Nicolas Willumsen scored on a rebound after the Highlander goalie was able to get hands on a shot from senior midfielder Nemo Philipp. UC Santa Barbara equalized on a successful penalty kick from Ledoux in the 78th minute. In the 86th minute, junior forward Salvador Aguilar headed a ball into the back of the net off a corner kick from Ledoux to seal the win.


No. 2 seed UC Irvine and No. 4 seed UC Davis punched their tickets into the championship match on Saturday, Nov. 4.

The Anteaters bounced back from a one-goal deficit to down No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara by a score of 2-1. In the 68th minute, defender Eddy Berumen was able to control the ball off a failed clearance and hit a right-footed shot to the left side of the net and in the 79th minute, junior midfielder Samuel Atiye made a run up the middle and kicked the ball into the cage with the assist coming from sophom*ore midfielder Agaton Pourshahidi on the left side.

The Aggies topped No. 1 seed and regular-season champion Cal State Fullerton 2-1 in overtime. UC Davis took the 1-0 lead in the 49th minute as sophom*ore midfielder Lucas Fernandez-Kim fed junior midfielder Scott Buie making a run on the left side and found the back of the net. After the Titans equalized with 17 seconds remaining in regulation, the Aggies put the game away in the sixth minute of overtime. UC Davis sophom*ore forward Cason Goodman scored after a controlling the long ball from sophom*ore defender Luke Goodman and found the back of the net.


No. 2 seed UC Irvine captured the 2023 Big West Men’s Soccer Championship with an 8-7 advantage in penalty kicks over No. 4 seed UC Davis, Saturday at Anteater Stadium. The contest will b recorded as a 0-0 tie. It is the fifth Big West Championship title in UC Irvine program history and first for Anteater head coach Yossi Raz.

Big West Championship MVP honors went to Anteater senior midfielder Oscar Cervantes.

Neither team could find the net in 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime as the game moved into penalty kick shootout. The Aggies held a 16-13 shot advantage, but the Anteaters had more shots on-goal, 5-1.

All-Big West Awards
The2023 Big West Men's Soccer All-Conference Team and major award winners wereannounced ahead of the2023 Big West Men's Soccer Championship.Cal State Fullerton claimed five of the six major awards with junior forwardRoberto Ordonezas the Offensive Player of the Year, junior midfielderErick Serranoas the Midfielder of the Year, junior defenderGiovanni Calderonas the Defensive Player of the Year, senior goalkeeperTetsuya Kadonoas the Goalkeeper of the Year and head coachGeorge Kuntzas the Coach of the Year. The Freshman of the Year honor went to CSUN’sJorge Solorzano. Full Release

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About The Big West
The Big West is an NCAA Division I conference of 11 members with the shared goal of empowering every student-athlete in competition and in life and uniting its university communities through championship experiences. Formed in 1969, The Big West membership consists of Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, CSUN, Hawai‘i, Long Beach State, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego and UC Santa Barbara.

The Big West is united in the pursuit of boundless opportunities, enduring integrity, bold activism, fearless innovation and the Pacific spirit of freedom, exploration and progress. The Big West sponsors 19 sports at the NCAA Division I level: baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and men's and women’s water polo.

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