Gauchos Tie Siena in Scoreless Affair

Seo-In Kim (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Seo-In Kim (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Another day, another scoreless draw at Harder Stadium. For the second straight game to start the season, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team played 110 minutes without a goal for a 0-0 tie against visiting Siena (N.Y.) on Sunday afternoon.

The back-to-back draws mark the first time since 2008 that the Gauchos have been held without a goal in two consecutive matches.

"I thought that we had good energy on the field and I thought we started well," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We had some good things going, and then like most Sunday afternoon games, as the game goes on it becomes a grind."

UCSB dominated possession throughout the contest and pressured the ball on the defensive end, thwarting any offensive attack from Siena. The Gauchos held the Saints without a shot in the first half and outshot its opponent 17-5 overall.   

UCSB had its fair share of looks at goal and generated 13 corner kicks, including four in the final overtime period alone, but could not find the back of the net.

Seo-In Kim and Rodney Michael nearly put the Gauchos on the scoreboard with great looks in the first half. In the 12th minute, Kim had a close-range shot from the six-yard box that was deflected away by the Saints keeper while Michael fired a free kick from the corner of the box that the keeper got just enough of his hands on to knock over the goal.  

"The reality is we didn't do enough in the final third to really threaten, and when we did threaten we missed on the final pass," Vom Steeg said.

Playing without an attacking midfielder, UCSB often had five forwards on the pitch and missed key passing from the midfield role.

In the second half, Jan Ilskens had a chance from point-blank range but fired just to the left of the goal. As the minutes ticked down in regulation, the Gauchos earned another corner that Brandon Magpayo crossed in to Frazer Poulter, who headed the ball just wide.

In the overtime periods, Noah Billingsley gave UCSB a look at a golden goal after slicing through the defense to make his way into the box, but collided with the oncoming keeper to halt the attempt. Michael generated a trio of corners in the final two minutes of play, but a goal was not in the cards for the Gauchos on Sunday.

Ilskens and Billingsley shared game-high honors with four shots apiece while Michael tallied three and Kim added two. Siena keeper Aleks Radosavljevic had his work cut out for him and notched eight saves to come away with the draw.

"We've had two straight games making sure we won our 18-yard box," Vom Steeg said. "That's two shutouts for our freshman goalie, so we just have to hang our hats on that for the next four or five games until we figure out how to score a goal."

UCSB (0-0-2) will search for that elusive first goal of the season on the road this Friday, Sept. 1 at University of San Diego.

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