SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Junior Achille Campion and senior Nic Ryan both scored to help lead No. 9 UC Santa Barbara on Friday evening as the Gauchos came-from-behind to defeat visiting Valparaiso, 2-1, at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.
With the victory, UCSB remains undefeated with its 3-0-1 record on the early season. Valparaiso falls to 1-2-1 with the loss.
The Crusaders grabbed the initial lead in the first half, which was fairly evenly matched with the teams posting just seven combined shots and one apiece on-frame.
Todd Vervynckt put Valpo up in the 29th minute on a play that began with a corner kick from Charles Barden on the right side of the field. Barden dumped the ball into the box where it deflected off of Yannick Iwunze's head before landing in front of Vervynckt, who was charging into the 18-yard box. Without pause, he right-footed the ball into the bottom left side of the Gaucho goal to give the Crusaders the 1-0 edge.
With just over five minutes to go in the half, Valpo nearly made it a two-goal lead when Jesse Ortiz's free kick from just outside the top left corner of the 18-yard box nailed the upper left hand V of the Gaucho goal.
Not content after falling behind, UCSB came out of halftime firing on all cylinders. Just over a minute into the second half, Josue Madueno's bicycle kick off of a corner kick from Javier Castro forced Crusader goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck to make his first big save of the game and seemingly served as a spark for the Gaucho offense.
The Gauchos' momentum continued from that point and, in the 54th minute, they got their game-tying strike from Ryan. Freshman Ema Boateng started the play by feeding the ball to Campion at midfield. The forward sped down the field before passing the ball to his left where it found Ryan. The senior sent a shot to the top shelf of the Crusaders' goal for his third strike of the season.
The twosome teamed up again in the 68th minute. This time, Ryan headed the ball in midfield to Campion, who passed it backwards to Castro. Castro played the ball over the top of Campion before the forward shot it past Zobeck after he came off his line to try to squelch the fast break. The goal was Campion's third of the year.
UCSB led the Crusaders, 8-3, in shots during the second half and 12-6 in the game. Gaucho Javier Castro led all players with five shots, including two on-frame.
Austin Mansker captured the win in goal for the Gauchos after playing the second half and recording two saves. André Grandt had started the game and made one stop during his 45 minutes between the pipes.
"We missed a lot of passes in the first half and we just lacked the energy," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "I give credit to the players that came in and the energy they brought in the second half that gave us the win.
"We need to get healthy, we need to get some players back and fortunately, we have the chance now with the next five or six days."