Oct. 25, 2008
FULLERTON, Calif. - Senior Chris Pontius continued his scoring barrage with his 12th goal of the season - his fourth straight game with a goal - and the No. 16 UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team also used a goal by senior Nick Perera to outlast Cal State Fullerton, 2-1 on Saturday night at Titan Stadium.
The victory was the 10th in a row by the Gauchos over the Titans and the eighth by one goal, including the fifth in a row.
The win improves the Gauchos' mark to 9-4-2 overall and 4-1-1 in the Big West. Cal State Fullerton falls to 4-12-1 and 1-5-1.
Pontius, who was named the Big West Player of the Week as well as Soccer America's Player of the Week after notching two goals and an assist in the Gauchos' two wins last week, set a career-high in goals, breaking his mark of 11 set last year when he was named the Big West's Offensive Player of the Year. His goal gives him 27 in his career, currently tied for sixth on UCSB's all-time list.
Pontius scored at 2:20 into the game on a perfectly times cross from freshman Danny Barrera and then beat Fullerton goalie Trevor Whiddon in a one-on-one to get the Gauchos on the board.
After CSUF tied the game at 36:48, the two teams went into the locker room knotted at 1-1. They then played much of the second half with the score remaining that way.
But at 73:43 Perera found a loose ball in the goal mouth after Jonathan Zerah fired a crisp cross after a rush down the right side. Perera easily beat Whiddon for his second-game-winning goal of the season. That leaves the senior, who was the 2006 College Cup Most Outstanding Player, two shy of matching his career-high for goals, set in 2006.
The Gauchos took just nine shots and both shots on goal resulted in scores as the defense held Fullerton to just eight shots with three on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Kristopher Minton made two saves.
Pontius was denied twice in the second half by aggressive plays by the freshman Whiddon. After a deflection, Whiddon came about 30 yards out of the goal to beat Pontius to a free ball near midfield with about 23 minutes to play. Whiddon again won a one-on-one battle with Pontius with 8:15 to play, this time getting away with a sliding stop that upended Pontius in the penalty box.
Fullerton's best shot at a second goal came 12 minutes into the second half. Denny fired a free kick from 37 yards out that hit the crossbar and Minton was able to make a sprawling save of a header off the rebound.
The Gauchos' next game is Saturday, Nov. 1 vs. UC Irvine, a team the Gauchos defeated earlier this season, 2-1. The first 500 fans to that game will receive a free seat cushion and all kids 13 an under will be admitted free.
UCSB will attempt to set THE record vs. Cal Poly on Nov. 5. The UCSB Athletics Ticket Office will hold special extended hours next week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for faculty and staff to come by and receive their free tickets. All students are encouraged to stop by and reserve their spot. Groups of five or more people can get special tickets for just $3 per person.
Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or coming to the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus Monday through Friday.