November 19, 2009

Walker's Late Goal Propels UCSB to NCAA First Round Win Over Wofford

Nov. 19, 2009

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Senior David Walker's goal in the 84th minute carried fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara (16-4-2) to a 1-0 victory over visiting Wofford (12-3-3) in a NCAA First Round game on Thursday night at the Gauchos' Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.

After 83 scoreless minutes, UCSB was finally able to tally the lone goal of the evening when sophomore Michael Tetteh crossed the ball from the left side of the box to junior Michael Boxall, who was near the end line on the right side. Boxall headed the ball back to Walker in the box, who dribbled the ball in and shot it from about 10 yards out for his eighth goal of the season.

Both team's offensives were unproductive in the first half of the game, combining for just three shots during the opening 45 minutes.

"I was massively disappointed in our energy, our work rate, our commitment," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg post-game. "We played a first half like we didn't care. And that's one thing that's never going to happen while I'm here. We're always going to care. I like our group and know we're capable of winning every night; sometimes it's just a matter of fighting through it."

UCSB came out of the halftime reenergized and started attacking from the first touch. Within the initial two minutes of the second period, the Gauchos fired off three shots and they ended up out-shooting the Terriers 15-4 during the half.

In the 59th minute, Wofford almost got on the scoreboard when Branson Hyatt crossed a ball into the box and Gaucho defender Tim Pontius attempted to head the ball clear. The ball barely missed the goal, fortuitously hitting the crossbar before flying out of bounds, preserving the 0-0 tie.

In the last minutes of the game, while trailing 1-0, Yakov Rubinchik shot the ball from 25-yards out in an attempt for the equalizer, Gaucho goalkeeper Sam Hayden dove to the left for the save and preserved the win for the Gauchos.

The game marked the Gauchos' 15th shutout of the season, which ties the UCSB school record set in 2004. It also marks Hayden's 15th shutout, setting a new Big West Conference record for single season goalie shutouts.

With the win, UCSB advances to the NCAA Second Round and will play at No. 11 seed San Diego on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Torero Stadium. It will mark the Gauchos' eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.

For tickets to Sunday's game, contact San Diego by calling (619) 260-7550 or click here. Tickets for the event are $5 for children, students, and seniors and $10 for adults.