October 18, 2006

Gauchos Return Favor, Defeat Aggies 1-0

Oct. 18, 2006

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne came off the bench for just the third time this season but responded with the game's only goal in the 61st minute, lifting the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over visiting UC Davis Wednesday night at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos were impressive once again defensively, posting their third shutout in the last four games.

With the win, UCSB split the season series with UCD and improved to 9-6-0 overall. The Aggies, who will officially join the Big West Conference in 2007, fell to 7-6-2 on the year.

After Sule Anibaba's first half goal gave Davis a 1-0 home win three weeks ago, Santa Barbara looked to even the score on their field. Wednesday's match turned out to be very physical, with a total 26 fouls called and three yellow cards issued.

Junior forward Andrew Proctor had two excellent scoring opportunities in the opening period, but could not give the Gauchos the early lead. The first came when he got a cross from Tyler Rosenlund in the box in the 13th minute, but his shot bounced off the crossbar. 20 minutes later, Proctor slid a ball past Davis goalkeeper Charles Warne and in, but was whistled for one of UCSB's 10 offsides penalties.

Proctor was not done, however, and continued to find seems in the Aggie defense in the second half. Roughly 15 minutes into the period, he dribbled a ball on the left wing and into the box. After he was tackled by a defender, Proctor made a tremendous recovery to get back on his feet, recover the ball and cross through the box for freshman forward Bongomin Otii. Otii let the ball through for Byrne, who put in a low shot past Warne to his left at the 60:37 mark.

The goal was the second of the year for the senior co-captain and 10th of his career.

Davis came very close to equalizing in the 77th minute when forward Quincy Amarikwa broke through and was one on one with UCSB keeper Kyle Reynish, but defender Jeff Murphy recovered to block Amarikwa's shot. The Aggies had another opportunity at 80:51 when Russ Brown got a deflected ball in the box, but his shot sailed wide left.

The visitors continued to try to tie the game with two more shots in the final two minutes, but Reynish and the Gaucho defense held on for their eighth shutout of the season.

Playing without reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Year Andy Iro, who was out serving a red card suspension, the Santa Barbara defense limited Davis to just one shot on goal and nine overall in the match. The Gauchos also took nine shots, with two coming on frame.

"It was great to come back home and get a win," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. "UC Davis is playing great soccer right now and I think we have developed a little bit of a rivalry with them. They are going to be an excellent addition to the conference next year."

UCSB returns to the Harder Stadium pitch this Saturday to take on Cal State Fullerton at 7:00 p.m.