Sept. 18, 2005
Santa Barbara, Calif. - It did not take long for the 12th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team to make its statement on its third Big West title defense in the last four years, scoring seven minutes into the match to open conference play with a 4-0 victory over UC Riverside. Senior forward Ivan Becerra netted two goals on the night, his first on the season, including the game-winner, to guide UCSB to its third-straight win and 3-1-1 on the season. The loss dropped the Highlanders to 0-5-1.
Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne initiated Santa Barbara's first goal from just beyond the attacking side of the center circle. Byrne and senior forward Jonathan Davis did a quick give-and-go around Davis' defender to penetrate the Highlanders' backline on the right side. Davis picked up the through pass and it looked as if he might have a tallying the Gauchos' first goal on the night, but UCR goalkeeper Jordan King came off his line and attempted to take the ball of Davis' foot. Davis quickly poked the ball out to his left just as he entered the penalty box, finding a wide-open Becerra who was head-up on the far post. Becerra one-timed Davis' pass with a wicked left foot, finding the back of the net at 6:56 in the match, giving Santa Barbara a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish. Becerra's goal and Davis' assist were their firsts on the season.
Davis quickly made it 2-0 Gauchos just under one minute later with an impressive individual effort down the right flank. Sophomore midfielder Brennan Tennelle rounded up a loose ball in the deep right of the Gauchos' defensive-third and astutely played a long up the right side to the streaking Davis. Davis ran with the play down the right flank, beating a pair of Highlander defenders one-on-one before turning the corner on UCR's last man. With the keeper remaining on his line, Davis rifled a shot from 25 yards out, under the sprawling King and into the side netting on the back post. The goal was Davis' third in as many games, it was also his third to be scored in the first ten minutes of a match.
UCSB finished the first half with an 11-3 advantage in shots and junior goalkeeper Kyle Reynish had to make just one of his three saves on the night before heading into the locker room at the break. The Gauchos were spared a potential mark against them in the final five minutes of the half when sophomore preseason All-American Andy Iro made a a kick save on a Mark Moreira shot that looked like it would be on frame.Re
After going scoreless through Santa Barbara's first four matches on the year, Becerra did not waste any time scoring his second goal of the year, and the match, midway through the second half. Freshman midfielder Eric Avila tallied his second assist of the season in breaking Becerra through, chipping a pass over the Highlander's backline line following a UCSB defensive clear. Becerra picked up Avila's pass in stride just outside the left corner of the UCR penalty box and beat his defender around the corner before unleashing a shot just into the back side of the far post to make it 3-0 Gauchos in the 70th minute.
As time was winding down in the match, Santa Barbara continued to pressure Riverside, and the effort paid off with just 24 seconds left in the game. Sophomore forward Andrew Proctor and Iro connected on a series of give-and-goes down the left side of the field and through the Highlander defense. With Proctor nearing the touchline about 15 yards from the goal, he cut back and dropped off a pass to Iro just inside the goalbox. Iro side-footed the pass with his left foot past King for his first goal of the season, and UCSB the 4-0 win. The assist was Proctor's first of the year as he made his first appearance of the season following an injury in the preseason.
Reynish's night ended with three total saves for his conference-leading third shutout of the season, but it was a total team effort on the defensive end. Iro, senior Nate Boyden, and junior Jeff Murphy helped in limiting Riverside to eleven shots on the night, five on goal, but it was their two teams saves that preserved the shutout. In addition to Iro's in the first half, Murphy made a sliding save in front of the net on a Randy Poggio shot after Reynish was taken down on a cross with under ten minutes to go. UCR's King finished the match with five saves in the loss and was also aided a team save on the night.
Now 1-0-0 in Big West play, UCSB takes a break from conference action to host Division I Independent Alabama A&M, next Friday, September 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium.