SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Forwards Goffin Boyoko and Charlie Miller each scored a second half goal to give No. 12 UC Santa Barbara a 2-0 win over Blue-Green rival Cal Poly at Harder Stadium on Saturday night in front of 12,805 fans, the highest attendance of any NCAA match so far this season.
With the win, the Gauchos completed the regular season with an undefeated record in conference play. It is just the second time in Big West history that has happened, with UCSB's 2002 squad the only other team to accomplish the feat.
Having earned a win or draw in each of the last 11 games, the Gauchos are on their fourth longest unbeaten streak in program history. It is just the second time since 2004 that UCSB has put together such a streak, the last time coming in 2012 when the Gauchos went without a loss over the first 11 games of the season.
UCSB finishes the regular season as the top team in the Big West with a record of 12-4-3, 7-0-3. Cal Poly, the third seed in the North Division, end the year with a mark of 10-8-2, 3-5-2.
"I'm extremely proud of the effort that our guys showed in this game," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "As the game went on, we took over and our team played at a very high level. It's Senior Night and you're playing your rival so I don't know if it gets any better than this with the win tonight."
With 12,805 fans filling Harder Stadium, the game set a number of attendance milestones. The highest attended game in the NCAA so far this season, it was also the fifth highest home attendance in UCSB history and fifth highest regular season, on-campus draw of all time NCAA-wide. Over the last two seasons, UCSB-Cal Poly matchups occupy the top four single game attendance spots in Division-I men's soccer, NCAA Tournament included.
After a pregame ceremony to honor UCSB's six seniors – Peter Schmetz, Fifi Baiden, Daniel Welsh, Achille Campion, Matt Glodack, and Goffin Boyoko – play got underway, with Cal Poly getting the majority of chances early on.
The Mustangs gave the Gauchos a scare in the sixth minute when Mackenzie Pridham hit the left post with a shot from inside the 18 yard box.
Granted a reprieve, UCSB began to take over the match. Outshooting Cal Poly 7-5 and earning six corners to the Mustangs' zero in the first half, the Gauchos were unable to get on the board despite solid scoring opportunities from Boyoko in the 31st minute and Ismaila Jome in the 29th minute.
After the halftime break, UCSB were finally able to convert on their many chances.
In the 61st minute, Drew Murphy stepped up to take yet another Gauchos corner. Taking advantage of a Cal Poly set piece defense that was slow to set up, Murphy quickly took the kick and served a ball to the back post, where Boyoko was waiting to head to the near post.
Boyoko's goal tied him for the team lead with seven. The goal stood up as the game winner, putting him back on top of the conference leaderboard with five game winning strikes. Murphy extended his team and conference leading assist total to eight, giving him the most helpers by a UCSB freshman since Eric Price put up a record 14 in 1978.
The Gauchos continued to apply the pressure, leading to a "dagger" goal in the 86th minute. Moving past the halfway line with numbers, junior fullback Kevin Garcia-Lopez lobbed a through ball over the top to Boyoko, who did a good job to time his run and stay onside. One on one with the keeper, Boyoko neglected to shoot, instead sending a sharp pass across the box to Miller, who easily beat Cal Poly keeper Wade Hamilton with a left footed shot.
As time expired, many of the UCSB students in attendance stormed the field to celebrate with the Gauchos.
With the two goal margin, it was just the second time in the last 14 matchups between UCSB and Cal Poly that the game was decided by more than one goal. The win gave the Gauchos another point in the Blue-Green Rivalry, pushing their lead in the 2013-14 series to 5-3. To learn more about the Blue-Green Rivalry, visit the official website here.
Vom Steeg's squad now looks ahead to the postseason, which the Gauchos have reached for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons. Earning a bye in the opening round of the Big West Tournament by virtue of being the number one seed in the North Division, UCSB will next play next Friday night, Nov. 15, at 7:00 p.m. against the winner of the Cal Poly/Cal State Northridge Quarterfinal game to be played on Tuesday.
Though the opponent is not yet known, tickets for that semifinal game are on sale and can be purchased by calling the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB starting on Tuesday.