UCSB 0 UCR 1

With the season on the line, Vom Steeg started a just-returned-from-injury Billingsley.  Otherwise, the line-up and formation was the same from the Cal Poly match.

Dream Team 3-4-2-1 football formation

The first half was relatively uneventful.  UCR was on the front foot early.  The best opportunity was created by UCR when a player was sent in on goal, dribbled into the box, but Ilskens interceded by sliding past the player 7 yards from goal, and was able to cause the ball to bounce to Carrillo who scooped up the ball.

For the most part, our performance was lackluster.  In particular, I thought Michael and Conteh tried to play too many balls to each other.  While it’s nice to play with someone one knows well, I felt some of their play was too forced.

In what would be a fateful turn of events, Adames had to come off injured in the 4oth minute and was replaced by Ek.

So, here is how we started the second half.

Dream Team 3-5-1-1 football formation

Early in the half, Ammer and Michael created a number of half chances.

Ammer rolled a cross across the goal.

Ammer then had a clear shot that he tried to bend into the far post, but didn’t get nearly enough bend on the attempt.

Michael crossed the ball to the far post to Ammer who could only manage to get a thigh or knee on the ball.

Michael would cross the ball again, but Tellechea headed the ball high.

UCR had a free kick that led to a counter the other way.  Billingsley found Tellechea on a long ball up the middle of the field which led to a hard shot that forced the keeper to push the ball over the bar.

Michael floated a cross to the far post which hit off that post.

Then UCR scored in the 88th minute.  Their forward received the ball inside the box, and Ek didn’t position himself between the player and the goal.  Consequently, the forward was able to turn on the ball and blast the ball inside the far post.

Fittingly, our season ended to UCR at home after starting the season with an exhibition loss to Westmont.

Truthfully, this team lacked what it needed to make any kind of significant run into the postseason.  Too many departures during the offseason followed by losing Feucht in the preseason meant the 2017 season was always going to be a rebuilding year with an eye toward 2018 and beyond.

Anyway, our season ended tonight.  A season recap post to follow in the coming days…

Big West Tourney Handicapping

We have somewhere between one and nine matches left in our season.  It’s almost certain that our last home match will take place this Wednesday versus UC Riverside.  Looking at our prospects through the eyes of a handicapping oddsmaker, I don’t like our chances.  From here on out, we need to win or go home, and given that we’ve only managed one victory from our last seven matches, things look pretty grim.

First up, UCR.  While we are 1-3-3 (0-1-2 at home) from our last 7 matches, UCR is 4-2-1 (1-2-1 away).  Our prior match versus UCR occurred at home where we won 3-1.  My odds of prevailing: 60%.

Should we win, we play at CSUF in the semi-finals.  While Fullerton has had our number in recent Big West tournament matches, our best scoreline of the year was a 5-2 thrashing of CSUF at home.  So, the match-up may be a favorable one for us.  CSUF is also coming off a 2-1 loss in a meaningful match at home versus last place UC Irvine, so they may be lacking form.  My odds of prevailing: 40%.

Statistically speaking, we have about a 24% chance of making it to the final, where we would likely play at Davis.  However, Davis will probably host CSUN in their semi-final match, a team that they drew at home earlier in the year.  Should Davis lose their match, we would suddenly host the final.  Odds of that happening is about 9.6% (24% of us making it that far coupled with a 40% chance of Davis losing).  Anyway, let’s say the most likely thing happens which is Davis playing in the final.  Given the -8 goal differential over 2 legs, I place our chances of winning at 30%.

With my odds of making it to the final at 24% and then beating Davis at 30%, I give our current odds of making it to the NCAA tourney at 7.2%.  Of course, we can nearly double those odds by beating Riverside on Wednesday, and those odds nearly double again if Davis loses in the semi-final.

So, our total number of matches left in the season is closer to 1 than it is to 9.  And while the cumulative odds to make it far are quite daunting, each win (or a Davis loss) boosts our odds significantly.  We’ll know on Wednesday whether we bust out for 2017 or get moved to another table.

UCSB 1 Cal Poly 4

During halftime, the video feed encountered an issue, and it never recovered.  I could write up a recap of what I observed in the first half, but I don’t think it’s worthwhile to tell just half a story, especially when it’s the first half and doesn’t include the end.  Given how the scoreline finished, it’s probably for the best.

To take a quick saunter down memory lane, we started divisional play in great shape with a 3-0-1 record.  During divisional play, we could only manage a 1-3-2 record or just 5 points from 6 matches.  We went from a strong lead to earn the #1 seed, to being behind but still in control of our own top seed destiny, to being a win from securing the #2 seed, to being another win from securing the #2 seed, to now needing Davis to get a result versus Sac State on Sunday for the #2 seed.

Should Sac State win on Sunday, we would be relegated to the #3 seed and play at CSUN this Wednesday

Should Davis do us a solid and not allow Sac State to win, we would host UCR this Wednesday.

While having a more fit Ammer and possibly Billingsley back for our next match improves our lot, our North results represent an obvious cause for concern.  Perhaps we can regain the form we enjoyed when we played the South nearly a month ago by playing the South again.

In any case, our seeding destiny is now in the hands of Davis and Sac State.