SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Eighth-ranked UC Santa Barbara posted a 2-0 victory over visiting Sacramento State on Sunday evening at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos secured the win with goals from junior Machael David and senior Tim Pontius, who each scored for the first time this season.
With the win, UCSB improves to 6-1-1 on the season while Sac State falls to 4-3-1. The victory stretches the Gauchos' home undefeated streak to 16 games. The shutout, meanwhile, was the fifth of the season and fourth straight at Harder Stadium.
UCSB got its first goal in the 20th minute on a play that started and ended with David. The midfielder got the ball on the left side of the field and passed it off to Sam Garza before running into the box. Garza fed the ball back to David, who tapped it towards David Opoku. The sophomore fed the ball back to David, who then beat his defender and sent a shot past the Hornet goalkeeper, Cesar Castillo, to the far side of the goal, giving UCSB the 1-0 lead.
Just minutes later, senior Luis Silva – who was coming off of a hat trick in Friday's game – had two near misses. In the 23rd minute, he fired the ball from about 23 yards out. Castillo dove and deflected the ball. Luckily for Sac State, the ball rolled away mere inches off the goal line.
Two minutes later, Silva had a nearly identical shot that sailed just wide and to the right of the Hornet goal.
Sophomore Peter Schmetz suffered his own pair of near misses in the 36th minute when he had a header hit the left post. Junior Nic Ryan redirected the deflection to Schmetz, whose shot from a few feet off the goal line went just high of the crossbar.
The Gauchos were finally able to get that second goal in the 44th minute. The play began with a free kick that Luis Silva dumped into the box. The ball was deflected out of the area towards David, who collected it on the left side and beat two pairs of defenders before crossing the ball on the ground to Tim Pontius. The senior, who was about 12 feet out from the goal, tapped the ball to the right corner. Castillo got to the ball quickly, but not before it had already crossed the goal line.
In the second half, UCSB's attack was strong as the midfield and forwards continued to connect time and time again. The Gauchos led the shot count, 11-4, in the period, but were unable to add another goal to their tally.
For the game, UCSB had a 23-6 shot advantage and a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal. David Opoku led the team with six shots, including two on goal, and Garza had five shots with one on frame.
André Grandt made three saves on his way to his fifth shutout. Castillo, for his part, made seven saves for the Hornets.
UCSB will begin Big West Conference play on Wednesday, Sept. 28 when it travels to UC Riverside for a 7 p.m. match up. The Gauchos will return to Meredith Field at Harder Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 1 to take-on defending Big West regular season champion UC Irvine at 7 p.m.
Tickets for that, and all UCSB matches, can be purchased by calling 805-893-UCSB, by stopping by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or by clicking here to purchase online.
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