No. 3 UCSB Downs Harvard, 1-0

Javier Castro (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Javier Castro (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Third-ranked UC Santa Barbara posted its third shutout of the season on Sunday afternoon as it defeated visiting Harvard, 1-0, at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. 

Junior Javier Castro's header in the 14th minute proved to be the only goal the Gauchos would need to remain unbeaten and improve to 6-0-2 on the season. Harvard dropped its fourth-straight and falls to 1-5-1. 

The game-winning play began with a beautiful cross from senior Peter McGlynn, who bent the ball from the right corner of the field and found Castro waiting at the top of the six-yard box. The junior headed it into the left side of the goal to put UCSB up early, 1-0.

In the 22nd minute, Nic Ryan nearly grabbed the Gauchos a second goal when his wide-open shot from 28-yards out was deflected in the box and changed directions, nearly rolling out of the reach of diving Harvard goalkeeper Joe Festa. Festa was able to react quickly and secure the ball to the dismay of the Gaucho fans.

Festa's play was critical just four minutes later when Castro slipped the ball to senior Josue Madueno who split two defenders and got a point-blank shot off, which the goalkeeper was able to grab.

UCSB had another great opportunity in the 34th minute when Pierre Rappolt crossed the ball from the left side of the field to Dom Sarle, who headed it from the top of the six-yard box, but Festa once again came up with the save to keep his team within striking distance heading into the locker rooms. 

The Gauchos continued to dominate the possession early in the second half. In the 59th minute, Ema Boateng, who scored the game-tying goal in Friday's 1-1 tie with UCLA, was inches away from scoring his second goal of the weekend. Charlie Miller crossed the ball from the right side of the field to Castro, who chested it down to the feet of Boateng. The freshman fired a shot, but Festa made the save.

During the game, the Gauchos were dominant on both ends of the field. They out-shot the Crimson 16-3 and did not allow a shot until the 63rd minute. The Crimson were able to earn five corner kicks in the second half, but Gaucho goalkeeper Austin Mansker squelched numerous dangerous set pieces to maintain the clean sheet. 

Mansker finished the game with one save and his third shutout of the season. Festa had eight saves in a solid effort for the Crimson.

Offensively, Boateng and Madueno led all players with four shots each and three on-goal. Jake Freeman had two of Harvard's three shots.

UCSB will be back in action next Friday, Sept. 28 when it opens Big West Conference play at UC Riverside at 8 p.m. The Gauchos will play Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. They will return home on Oct. 5 to host defending Big West Champion UC Irvine.

To purchase tickets, stop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB or click here.