Reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year Henry Davies of UCSB has been named the Big West Defensive Player of the Week for the first time, it was announced this week.
The Gauchos men’s soccer team faced off against and defeated two talented teams at Harder Stadium this past weekend, including an Oregon State side that entered the year with a No. 5 national preseason ranking (United Soccer Coaches) and a Utah Valley side that had lost just one of its first four games.
“We played one team that’s been ranked in Oregon State and another really quality opponent and we got two great results,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said Monday’s announcement of Mr. Davies’ honor. “Henry not only was the leader in the back, but he started all of our attacks.”
Davies showed tremendous quality and leadership in anchoring UCSB’s back line, always seeming to be in the right position to make plays whether he was rising high to head balls out of the box or slowing down attacks with a perfectly timed tackle. His communication and synergy with goalkeeper Leroy Zeller, new center backs Johannes Vedin and Timon Windisch, and the Gauchos’ various choices at left back showed clear growth compared to the start of the season.
UCSB allowed just one goal to both Oregon State and Utah Valley, and it was Davies who scored the opening goal of the Gauchos’ 5-1 win over Utah Valley from about three yards out with an unsaveable header on a set piece.
“Henry has a knack of being in the right spots, in the right place,” said Vom Steeg. “He scored a couple important goals last year, and against Utah Valley that was a goal that got us going right at the start of the game. Of course, whenever a center back scores, it usually means you’re going to have a good day that day.”
The Springwood, Australia native is the second Gaucho to earn conference Player of the Week honors, joining Salvador Aguilar who was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Week following UCSB’s first two games.
After receiving some much-deserved rest, UCSB will carry a three-game win streak into this Saturday when it faces Grand Canyon on AYSO Parade Night.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.