Oct. 12, 2001
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
It was the best of halves. It was the worst of halves.
Friday's UC Santa Barbara men's soccer match against Cal State Fullerton at Harder Stadium was a tale of two teams. At the end of the first half of play, the Gauchos were down 2-0 and didn't appear as if they had a chance of coming back. The second half however was a different story.
The Gauchos looked like a different team in the second half, outplaying the Titans, but more importantly, outscoring them 3-0, to open Big West play with an improbable 3-2 victory.
Fullerton got on the board first with a goal by forward Brent Whitfield off of a Hector Orellana pass at 14:10 in the match. Orellana received a ball that was cleared from the Titans half of the field and quickly dished it off to Whitfield before the defense had a chance to organize, leaving Whitfield with a clear shot on frame. The Titans second and final goal of the match came at 20:38 when Hector Orellana was able to find the back of the net with a header off of a Jason Clifford cross.
Whatever head coach Tim Vom Steeg said to his team in the locker room at halftime worked, as UCSB stormed back in the second half.
Junior forward Rob Friend didn't waste time turning things around for the Gauchos, beating Cal State Fullerton's goalkeeper Jeff McKeever down low off of a pass by fellow forward, senior Jaime Ambriz, at 47:57. That combination was so nice that they decided to do it twice. Ambriz and Friend once again hooked up at the 58:20 mark to knot the match at 2-2 and put UCSB back into contention. The second Friend-Ambriz hook-up came via a header off of a perfect cross. Ambriz drilled a cross from the right sideline, which Friend redirected into the upper left corner.
UCSB took the lead for the first time under 20 minutes remaining in the match and never looked back. The game-winning goal came when freshman forward Drew McAthy was able to flick a Friend header past McKeever. Friend had redirected a Tony Lochhead cross.
The 3-2 victory gives UCSB a 1-0 mark in the Big West Conference and a 5-3-2 record overall. The win also snapped a four-match winless streak for the Gauchos. Friend lead the way with a pair of goals, and an assist. Ambriz had two assists. McAthy tallied his second goal of the season, and Lochhead also had an assist. Cal State Fullerton drops to 3-5-1, and 0-1 in the Big West.
UCSB returns to action on Sunday, when it hosts UC Irvine in a 4:00 p.m. Big West match at Harder Stadium.