Gauchos' NCAA Tournament Run Ends in Westwood
Nov. 29, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Sunday night's NCAA Third Round game between UC Santa Barbara (17-5-2) and UCLA (12-3-4) marked the first postseason rematch between the Gauchos and Bruins since UCSB defeated UCLA in the 2006 NCAA College Cup. The final score of that game was 2-1 and, on Sunday night, UCLA used that same score to defeat the Gauchos at the Bruins' Marshall Field at Drake Stadium.
The evening started off well enough for the Gauchos. In the 11th minute, sophomore Peter McGlynn crossed the ball into the area from about 20 yards out on the right side. The ball reached senior David Walker, who volleyed the ball in for the goal.
The goal marked Walker's 10th of the season and his third in the NCAA Tournament.
After the Gaucho goal, UCLA had its first offensive surge of the game. Michael Stephens fired off the Bruins' first shot in the 13th minute, but UCSB goalkeeper Sam Hayden made the save. Just over a minute later, Andy Rose shot to the lower left corner of the Gaucho goal, but Hayden once again made the save, diving to his right side. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Fernando Monge collected the deflected ball and put it away to tie the game at one-all in the 15th minute.
The game remained knotted until the 37th minute when UCLA's Ryan Hollingshead scored on a give-and-go from Kyle Nakazawa. Hollingshead was wide open at the top of the box and was able to fire the ball past Hayden, who had come off his line, to put the Bruins ahead, 2-1.
The two teams were nearly even in the first half with UCLA posting a narrow 6-5 lead in shots. The Bruins, however, had five shots on-frame opposed to the Gauchos' single shot on-goal.
Down, but not out, the Gauchos came out of halftime on fire. UCSB out-shot the Bruins 11-4 in the second half.
Freshman Michael Nonni opened the half with back-to-back shots in the first three minutes of the period and Walker led the team with three shots in the final 45 minutes.
In the 69th minute, Danny Barrera was in the box about 11-yards out when the ball deflected off of several players before falling at his right foot. The left-footed midfielder fired a shot, but it was high and UCLA's lead was preserved.
With just 4:30 left on the clock, the Gauchos saw another missed opportunity when McGlynn crossed the ball into the box from the near side to Martin Hedevag who headed the ball just wide.
Still fighting to save their season, the Gauchos continued to hammer the UCLA defense in the final minutes. The last opportunity to score came just as the announcer gave the one-minute warning. Luis Silva took a shot from the top of the box, but Brian Perk made the save for the Bruins as UCLA held on for the victory.
UCLA will play No. 3 seed Wake Forest in the NCAA Quarterfinals on Saturday, Dec. 5 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
"I am very proud of the effort. I thought in the first half we were a little bit tentative and I thought we were playing their game," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "We really challenged the guys at halftime and said if we are going to lose, there is only on way to lose: you just have to go and really take a chance and get after people.
"I thought we responded well in the second half. Not only do I think we had very good opportunities, but I think we played very, very good soccer. If you are going to end the season, you want to end it like that. We threw everything we had at UCLA."
UCSB ends the season with a 17-5-2 overall record, which marks the Gauchos' best record since the 2006 National Championship season, when they went 17-7-1. UCSB also tied the program record for the second most wins in a season.
The Gauchos also ended the year with a school and Big West record 16 shutouts and a program-record 10 players were named to All-Big West teams.