Oct. 16, 2004
Northridge, Calif. -
It was bound to happen sometime, the No. 1 ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team suffered its first loss of the season, falling 3-1 to defending Big West Conference Champion and 28th-ranked Cal State Northridge, ending its record-setting 12-game unbeaten streak to start the year. The Gauchos, who had a 1-0 halftime lead and still retain first place by virtue of their 4-1-0 conference record, are now 11-1-1 on the season. The win improves the Matadors to 8-4-0 overall and 3-1-0 in the Big West.
Freshman defender Andy Iro broke through the first half stawlwart in the 39th minute for the Gauchos to give them a 1-0 halftime lead. Senior midfielder Nate Boyden hooked an arcing cross into the back post on a UCSB free kick from just outside the penalty box on Santa Barbara's attacking left. After a couple of bounces off the heads of the Matador defense junior defender Pat Scott picked up the ball once it cleared the box and one-timed a shot that CSUN goalkeeper Radames Lafaurie denied but could not control. With the ball free infront of the Northridge net, Iro, was in the box for the free kick, was in the right place at the right time and pounced on the opportunity, scissor-kicking a left-footed shot as he fell to his right for his second goal of the season.
CSUN even the scored at 1-1 in the 61st when Zach Feldman dribbled through the middle of the defense, drawing Dan Kennedy off of his line. Feldman shedded his defender and dished the ball off to his left to Daniel Paladini. Paladini hit a quick shot that squirted towards the goalline. Kennedy and defender Tony Lochhead both chased the rolling ball but Lochhead a half of a step late, clearing the ball out just as the ball crossed the line.
The Gauchos had two great chances to re-take the lead, but sophomore Derek Hanks and Lafaurie came up with a pair of huge saves. In the 64th minute junior Jonothan Davis looped a shot past a drawn-out Lafaurie, but Hanks kicked the ball away to safety before it went in the net. Just 54 seconds later, another UCSB surge was thwarted when Lafaurie made a one-handed save on a point-blank shot by Iro.
In another turn of events, the Gauchos went a man down in the 73nd minute when Iro received his second yellow card of the match for a tackle Gianno Facio. Now playing a man-down on the defensive end UCSB was left open for attack, and that is just what the Matadors did. Two minutes after the dismissal of Iro CSUN's Benjamin Bendetson carried the ball up the middle and dished it off to a streaking Willie Simms on his left. Simms controlled the ball and tucked it under a diving Kennedy to put the hosts up 2-1.
In another defensive lapse, the Gauchos did not get back on defense, giving CSUN a 4-2 man advantage deep in UCSB's defensive end, resulting in the Matadors third goal of the second half and the final 3-1 score. Bendetson carried the ball down the left side, nearing the top of the penalty box and squared a pass to Simms near the middle. With a 2-1 man advantage Simms dished the ball off to Alec de Mattos who, after a couple of dekes, sent a shot into the upper right-hand "V".
The Gauchos will look to redeem themselves against CSUN in four weeks, November 10th, in Harder Stadium. As for now, top-ranked UCSB next hosts UC Irvine Wednesday, October 20th in Santa Barbara, kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.