A Pair of Firsts Lift No. 12 UCSB Over Cal State Fullerton, 2-1

Sept. 21, 2006

Box Score

FULLERTON, Calif. - Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne scored his first goal of the season, as did freshman forward Nick Perera after his free kick from about 30 yards out deflected off the wall and in into the net in the second overtime period to give No. 12 UC Santa Barbara a 2-1 Big West Conference men's soccer victory over Cal State Fullerton Thursday night.

The win lifted UCSB to a 5-2-0 overall mark and a 2-0-0 slate in the Big West, while host Fullerton (3-4-1) dropped its conference opener.

After the Gauchos battled the Titans to a scoreless first half, fortuitous bounces played a role in both goals in regulation. In the 70th minute, Byrne saw a deflection roll down the right sideline. He ran the ball down, dribbled in from a steep angle and beat Fullerton goalkeeper Kevin Puder to the far left post for a 1-0 lead.

The Titans responded with the equalizer with less than six minutes to play when Amir Shafii's short cross caromed around in a crowd in the goal mouth and landed at the feet of Eugene Brooks, who punched the ball past Kyle Reynish for his fourth goal of the season.

Shafii's goal was the first the Gauchos have allowed in a victory this season and fourth overall.

After UCSB was unable to push through in the first overtime period, Perera came up with the game-winner in the 106th minute as the Gauchos improved to 2-1 on the road this season.

Reynish made 6 saves on the night while Puder, making his first start of the season due to an injury, logged 9. Santa Barbara out-shot Fullerton 23-14 and held a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks.

The Gauchos return to the pitch this Saturday as their road trip continues with a match up with UC Davis at 4:00 p.m.