September 14, 2008

Men's Soccer Team Stunned Again, Loses to Columbia, 3-1

Sept. 14, 2008

Box Score

NEW YORK - Rare is the time when the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team loses on the East Coast under coach Tim Vom Steeg.

Equally rare is when the Gauchos, ranked sixth in the nation, lose consecutive matches under Vom Steeg.

On Sunday, it happened for only the eighth time in the 10 seasons Vom Steeg has been the Gauchos' head coach when UCSB was shocked again, falling to unranked Columbia, 3-1 for the Gauchos' second consecutive defeat after losing to Rutgers 3-2 on Friday.

The Gauchos have now lost consecutive regular-season games for the first time since falling Sept. 23, 2006 and Sept. 27, 2006 to UC Davis and Cal State Northridge, respectively. UCSB entered the two-game road trip without having lost in their previous 10 regular-season games, dating back to October of last season.

Under Vom Steeg, the Gauchos had only lost consecutive games seven previous times, with four of those sets of consecutive defeats coming in Vom Steeg's first two seasons coaching the Gauchos.

UCSB departed for their East Coast swing with three straight wins to open this season and an 11-3 all-time record under Vom Steeg on the East Coast with two of those defeats coming in the NCAA Tournament.

Columbia Sophomore forward Bayo Adafin recorded his first career hat trick and first-year goalkeeper Alex Aurrichio played lights out in net as the Columbia University men's soccer team stunned the Gauchos at a sweltering Columbia Soccer Stadium. With the win, the Lions improve to 1-2-1 on the season while the Gauchos drop their second straight contest and fall to 3-2.

Aurrichio finished the contest with seven saves and helped to combat a potent UCSB attack by intercepting and punching out numerous dangerous balls in the box.

Adafin was relentless in the early going, tallying the first goal in the 24th minute off a through-ball from senior Felipe Castrillon. Castrillon slid a pass through two Gauchos defenders to Adafin, who went far post to beat starting UCSB goalkeeper Kristopher Minton and put Columbia up 1-0.

Minton was making his first career start after Trond Helge Takset had started the Gauchos' previous four matches.

A misplay by Minton led to the Lions' second tally just one minute, 20 seconds later. First-year midfielder Francois Anderson sent a pass in Adafin's direction down the left side. Minton slid to corral the ball but it bounced right off his hands and directly into the possession of Adafin, who dribbled in all alone and gave Columbia a 2-0 cushion.

Determined to fight back, the Gauchos would respond with a tally of their own in the 38th minute as reserve Christian Dahlskog sent a cross into the box to David Ponce. Ponce settled the ball from eight yards out, took one dribble and deposited his shot past Aurrichio to cut the Lions lead in half.

For Ponce, a freshman, it was his first collegiate goal and Dahlskog's first collegiate assist.

UCSB held the shot advantage in the first half, 10-4, and also had four corner kicks to Columbia's two.

The Gauchos would have a number of chances in the second half but a strong Columbia defense led by senior captain James Pounder held sturdy. Pounder marked M.A.C. Hermann Trophy nominee Chris Pontius for much of the contest and kept him from having many clean looks at net, despite Pontius' seven shots on the match.

In the 75th minute, Nick Perera of UCSB had a great opportunity for the equalizer but Pounder was able to recover defensively and deflect the shot away from net. Five minutes later, Bryan Dominguez fired a blast from the top of the box that sailed just high and kept the score at 2-1.

The final dagger came in the 89th minute, as Aurrichio punched a cross out of the box nearly 30 yards to Adafin, who was all alone and had 50 yards of open space in front of him. The Rochester, Minn., native calmly moved down the field and once he reached the 18-yard box, UCSB goalie Trond Helge Takset, who replaced Minton in goal to start the second half, came up out to contest him. But Adafin deftly slid by Takset, took one dribble to his left and sent home his third goal of the contest, much to the delight of the Columbia bench and its fans.

UC Santa Barbara outshot the Lions, 22-7, on the match and 12-3 over the final 45 minutes of play.

The Gauchos will be back in action on Thursday when they host Evansville at 7 p.m. before taking on top-ranked Wake Forest on Sunday at 6 p.m. Both games will be played at Harder Stadium.

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