Oct. 8, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge have battled for each of the last four Big West men's soccer championships and if Saturday night's match between the schools was any indicator, they will battle for the title again in 2005.
The Gauchos and Matadors played to a 2-2 deadlock in front of a crowd of 2,217 at UCSB's Harder Stadium and a national television audience on CSTV.
Northridge wasted no time getting the upper-hand. Midfielder Taylor Canel hit a pass to defender Sean Franklin who was running along the right sideline. Franklin dribbled along the sideline until just near the top of the penalty box and he hit a cross to midfielder Daniel Paladini who had gotten behind the UCSB defense. Paladini slid a shot past Gaucho goalkeeper Kyle Reynish to give the Matadors a 1-0 edge at 5:54 of the match.
Paladini's goal was the only score of the first 45 minutes, but it was not the only significant development.
Midway through the first half, Northridge's leading-scorer, forward Willie Sims, injured a knee and was forced to the sideline. He did not return in the match.
UCSB tied the score early in the second half. At 47:45 midfielder Bryan Byrne hit a cross from about 10 yards outside of the penalty box. Defender Jeff Murphy got between a pair of Matador defenders and headed a shot inside the right post.
The score remained tied until the 64th-minute when Northridge forward Ryan Rossi got open in front of the UCSB goal, took a pass from forward Alec de Mattos and slid a shot inside the left post.
The Matadors held the lead into the waning minutes, but at 86:45 one of their defenders was whistled for a hand-ball in the box. Byrne was chosen to take the penalty kick and he pounded a shot past goalkeeper Kevin Guppy, who guessed the wrong way, and the score was again tied at 2-2.
A few minutes later, with 1:15 to go in regulation, Northridge had a penalty kick opportunity of its own when Paladini broke through the Gaucho defense and was tripped from behind in the box. Paladini took the penalty kick, but Reynish was up to the task. Paladini tried to place his shot inside the left post, but Reynish went left and made a beautiful diving block to send the match into overtime.
UCSB had the best chance to score in either of the overtime periods. Midway through the second 10-minute period, defender Andy Iro struck a perfect cross into the box just in front of Guppy. Reserve midfielder Chris Pontius bolted down the middle of the box and headed a shot past Guppy, but the ball hit the right goal post and then deflected off of the back of Guppy's head and past the end-line resulting in a UCSB corner kick. That, however, was the last real scoring opportunity for either team.
With the tie, both the Gauchos and Matadors are now 6-2-2 overall. UCSB is now 3-0-1 in the Big West and Northridge is 2-0-1.
Santa Barbara returns to the pitch on Friday, October 14, when it travels to UC Irvine for another Big West match. The Gauchos return home the next night, Saturday, October 15, to host future Big West member UC Davis.