Ryan’s Late-Game Heroics Lead Gauchos to Season-Opening Victory

Nic Ryan (By Tony Mastres)
Nic Ryan (By Tony Mastres)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Senior Nic Ryan scored a header off of a beautiful cross from Ema Boateng on the left wing with just 1:26 remaining on the clock to propel UC Santa Barbara (1-0) to a 2-1 victory at Loyola Marymount (0-1) on Sunday afternoon at Sullivan Field.

The Gauchos had gotten out to an early lead when junior transfer Achille Campion scored in the 12th minute. Junior Daniel Welsh fed the ball from the left touchline to Dom Sarle, who sent a cross from the left side to Campion. The forward scored on a left-footed slot shot to put UCSB up, 1-0.

Santa Barbara was able to maintain the lead for 77 minutes, but with the clock winding down, the Lions climbed back into the match, at least momentarily.

In the 88th minute, a foul was called on the Gauchos. LMU's Craig Nitti scored on a free kick from the left corner of the box with a shot to the far post of the UCSB goal, deadlocking the game with less than two minutes to go.

Just 36 seconds later, Boateng crossed the ball to Ryan from the left wing, who beat LMU goalkeeper Bill Thompson with the game-clinching header. The goal marked the third game-winning strike of Ryan's career. 

For the match, UCSB out-shot the Lions, 13-8, and had an 8-3 lead in shots-on-goal. Campion and Ryan led all players with three shots apiece.

In goal, Austin Mansker made his first start with the Gauchos after redshirting his freshman season and then sitting out the 2011 campaign with an injury. Mansker made two stops on his way to his first collegiate victory. 

The Gauchos will continue their season-opening road swing next week when they head to Spokane, Wash. for the Gonzaga Nike Classic. They will play Oregon State on Friday, Aug. 31 and Gonzaga on Sunday, Sept. 2.

UCSB will return home on Sept. 7 to host Valparaiso at 7:30 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. To ensure that you don't miss a minute of the 2012 campaign, purchase your season tickets now. The popular Family Plan includes five tickets for just $178. This year, the plan will also serve as a Flex Plan with either two season passes and three GKids memberships or five tickets – it's your call! GKids remains the best value in town for kids with access to every regular season game in every sport while wearing your GKids t-shirt. Call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to purchase your season tickets.