SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior defender
Pontius' two goals propelled No. 19 UC Santa Barbara to a 3-1
victory over visiting UC Davis on Wednesday evening at Meredith
Field at Harder Stadium.
Pontius, who was back in the Gaucho lineup following a one-game red card suspension, helped provide the spark that UCSB needed. His first goal was the result of Luis Silva's free kick in the 38th minute. Silva sent the ball into the box where it took a fortuitous bounce before Pontius connected with it and fired a shot to the right side of the Aggie goal.
The senior struck again in the 61st minute. Aggie goalkeeper Omar Zeenni had left the goal unattended after clearing the ball. Pontius was able to get the ball in the midfield and fire off a high arching shot from 61 yards out into the empty goal.
UC Davis cut its deficit in half just over two minutes later. Following a Gaucho turnover, Matt Wiesenfarth fed the ball to Dan Reese on the right side of the field on the counter attack. Reese sent a quick shot to left side of the Gaucho goal to put the Aggies within one.
The Gauchos would have the final say though. In the 77th minute, Sam Garza crossed the ball from the right side to Silva in the box. The senior shot the ball to the low left corner of the goal to give UCSB the 3-1 lead.
The match marked the first multiple goal showing of Pontius' career at UCSB. He and Garza led the Gauchos with three shots apiece.
In goal, André Grandt made one save, and it certainly was a dazzling one. With just 4:44 to go in the first half, Alex Aguiar took a shot from inside the box that Grandt was able to dive and knock out just before it crossed the goal line, preserving the UCSB lead.
Zeenni made one save for the Aggies. Reese, meanwhile, led the Aggies with two shots.
The Gauchos led the shot count, 12-6, and had a 4-2 advantage in shots on-goal and a 6-3 lead in corner kicks.
UCSB is now tied for fifth in the conference standings with Cal Poly; each team has tallied nine points. The other Big West results from tonight did not do UCSB many favors; UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge tied, 0-0, as did Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside, 1-1. Irvine now has sole possession with 16 points, UC Davis is in second (15 points), UCR retains third (11 points) and Cal State Northridge is in fourth (10). All four teams have played one more game than UCSB, Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton.
UCSB will hit the road and face Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Oct. 29 in a 7 p.m. match-up. Tune into KZSB AM 1290 to catch all of the action or listen online here.
TIm Pontius' 2 goals leads the Gauchos to victory.