Nov. 22, 2005
Northridge, Calif. - 13th-ranked Cal State Northridge once again found itself on top, as 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara was felled for the second time this season by the Matadors, ending the Gauchos' season at 13-5-3 following a 3-2 loss in the NCAA Tournament's Second Round. A trio of defensive lapses in the first half proved critical as UCSB lost just its second game of the season after leading in a match.
Just over five minutes in, defender Chris Hughes cleared the ball up the right sideline following a CSUN free kick. Bryan Byrne picked up Hughes' clear near midfield and carried it up the sideline and into the Matador penalty box, turning the corner on his man before whipping a driven ball across the frame. Byrne's shot glanced off the defender's leg and beat goalkeeper Kevin Guppy on the post for a 1-0 Santa Barbara lead.
Northridge equalized less than four minutes later on a play that started in similar fashion to UCSB's goal, with a free kick just beyond the top right corner of the Gauchos' penalty box. Except this time Matador midfielder Daniel Paladini decided to take the shot and he hit a curling shot past goalkeeper Kyle Reynish just inside the near post, tying the match at 1-1.
UCSB didn't waste anytime retaking the lead, off of a throw in deep in Northridge's zone. Hughes sent the ball into the penalty box and the Matadors attempted to clear the ball, but defender Andy Iro picked off the pass and promptly laid it off to Andrew Proctor near the top of the box. Seeing Ivan Becerra running through the middle of the box, Proctor played the ball through the defense and onto the left post where Becerra sidefooted the ball into the netting for a 2-1 Gaucho lead in the 12th minute.
CSUN would once again tie it up following a breakdown of the Santa Barbara defense. Taylor Canal hit the ball up the left sideline to Matt Tracy who carried it up the left sideline and whipped a cross through the Santa Barbara penalty box. Will Beard shook his defender lunged for the cross near the back post, poking it past Reynish to tie it at 2-2 in the 24th minute.
The Matadors took its first lead of the match following a cleared corner kick. The Gauchos managed to get up and send the ball out to midfield but Northridge's two sitting defenders, corralled it and Brian Siu one-timed a pass from Jeff Konoske and it ping-ponged through the crowd in front of the goal, leaving Reynish helpless at predicting the shot and it went it just inside the left post for a 3-2 CSUN at 38:03 for what proved to be the game-winner.
Netither team was able to fnd the back of the net in the second half, with the Matadors sitting and preserved their one-point lead. The Gauchos were ultimately outshot 19-13 in match. CSUN now goes on to represent the Big West Conference in the Sweet 16 when they face the winner of the New Mexico/Wisconsin-Milwaukee match.
Reynish was credited with five saves in the match as he finished the year third in school history with nine shutouts on the season. The three goals allowed for the most ever on the season and in his career.
Today's match marked the final games for senior's Nate Boyden, Chris Hughes, Ivan Becerra and Jonathan Davis, as well as junior Jeff Murphy. Fortunately for the Gauchos they return most of their squad for next season as seven of today's starting eleven will be back in 2006.