SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Freshman forward Ismaila Jome had a 109th minute goal whistled offside and UC Santa Barbara couldn't push across a goal despite a late offensive flurry, leading to a scoreless draw at Sacramento State in the Gauchos' final regular season away game of the year.
UCSB has now picked up a tie in each of its last three games, pushing its overall record to 11-4-3. They remain the only unbeaten team in conference play with a 6-0-3 Big West mark. Sacramento State moved to 3-10-4, 1-7-1 on the year with the tie, but were eliminated from postseason contention with a UC Davis win over Cal Poly.
The Gauchos are now unbeaten in their last 10 games, their longest such streak since going undefeated over the first 11 games of the 2012 season. With a win or draw in their regular season finale this weekend, the Gauchos will become the second team in the Big West to go undefeated in conference play since the league brought back men's soccer in 2001. Tim Vom Steeg's 2002 squad is the only other team to accomplish the feat.
Without the services of seniors Achille Campion and Peter Schmetz yet again, the Gauchos still dominated the run of play in the first half, racking up the first six shots of the game en route to a 7-3 overall shot advantage in the opening 45 minutes. Shots from Jome and fellow foward Goffin Boyoko forced Hornets keeper Cesar Castillo to range to make a pair of saves to keep the Gauchos off the board.
UCSB maintained the offensive pressure in the second half, leading the Hornets' Edwin Luna to receive a red card after a reckless challenge on senior midfielder Fifi Baiden.
Ironically, this seemed to galvanize the Hornets, who improved their play and created a number of chances in the late stages of the second half and in the first overtime period. The Hornets' 10 shots over that time frame resulted in three saves from freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely, whose sprawling save on a 99th minute shot from Trevor Jackson saved the game for the Gauchos.
Jome thought he had the game won when he found the back of the net in the 109th minute, but UCSB's fifth golden goal of the season was not to be as the side official's offside flag had gone up just as the freshman winger planted to shoot.
Jome, Boyoko, and Duncan Backus led the Gauchos with three shots apiece. Jackson and Ivan Ramirez had three drives each to lead the way for the Hornets.
The Gauchos will end the regular season in a big way this Saturday night, as they will welcome Blue-Green rival Cal Poly to Harder Stadium for a showdown that will be televised by Fox Sports.
UCSB-Cal Poly matchups have produced some of the biggest crowds in NCAA history, including seven of the 12 highest attended regular season, on-campus games all-time. Last year's matchup at Harder Stadium drew 13,467 fans, the highest attendance for any match nationwide, while this year's clash at Cal Poly drew 11,075 fans, the most of any Division I match so far this season. Mark Rogondino and Jon Herz will have the call on Prime Ticket starting at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are still available for the game and can be purchased here.
To learn more about the Blue-Green Rivalry, which includes the best men's soccer rivalry in the country, check out the official website here.