Oct. 25, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sophomore midfielder Eric Avila scored the only goal of the game as the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team recorded its season-high fourth win in a row with a 1-0 victory over Big West rival Cal State Northridge Wednesday night at Harder Stadium. The Gaucho defense posted its fourth consecutive shutout and fifth in the last six games in the victory.
UCSB, who has now won five of its last six matches, improved to a season-best five games over the .500 mark at 11-6-0. The Gauchos remain in first place in the conference standings with 18 points at 6-2-0. With the loss, CSUN falls to 5-6-5 overall and 3-2-3 in the Big West.
The win snapped UCSB's winless streak of three games in the series and avenged the 5-0 beating suffered earlier this season in Northridge. The Gauchos last defeated the Matadors 2-1 November 9, 2004.
Santa Barbara's defense continued to shine Wednesday night, shutting down the Matadors despite being out-shot 15-11 for the match. The Gauchos shutout their opponent for the fourth consecutive match and fifth time in the last six games. UCSB last allowed a goal at the 1:15 mark at UC Riverside October 11, a span of over 448 minutes of play.
Eight of UCSB's 11 shots came in the first half with two early looks from Avila. The first missed left in the sixth minute and Matador goalkeeper Kevin Guppy was there for the save on the second roughly ten minutes later. The Gauchos had another promising opportunity in the 19th minute when junior forward Andrew Proctor collected the rebound off of a Chris Pontius offering, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
The Gauchos finally pushed through for the score in the 27th minute. Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne dribbled around one Northridge defender on the right wing and then made a great play to keep the ball away from another. Once he entered the box, he centered it for Avila who put in a shot between the right post and a diving Guppy for his fourth goal of the season.
Northridge came very close to equalizing in the 40th minute when midfielder Dylan Riley played a ball to his left and into the box for Michael Clegg. The midfielder left it for Ryan Rossi, but UCSB senior keeper Kyle Reynish laid out for the spectacular save.
The Matadors continued to attack in the second period, taking 12 shots to the Gauchos' three, including the first five of the half. But the Gaucho defense was up to the task and was able to make the 1-0 advantage stand.
Reynish made critical stops on shots from midfielder Taylor Canel in the 54th minute, defender Matt Tracy four minutes later, and then again, denying midfielder Brian Siu in the 69th minute.
The Santa Barbara defense was brilliant again, blocking three Matador shots from Tracy, Canel and forward Sunghyun Kim in a flurried sequence following a free kick. Canel had another look on the ensuing play, but his shot sailed high.
Reynish finished with five saves for the Gauchos and Avila led the way offensively with six shots, three of which were on goal. Canel had four shots for Northridge and Guppy made three saves between the posts.
UCSB now has a week off before returning to the pitch next Wednesday, November 1 with its final regular road contest of the regular season at UC Irvine. The Gauchos and Anteaters will square off in a Big West Conference match with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m.