Strong Second Half Propels No. 6 UC Irvine Past No. 8 UC Santa Barbara

Strong Second Half Propels No. 6 UC Irvine Past No. 8 UC Santa Barbara

Sept. 30, 2007

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A six-on-five goal by Brandon Johnson with 25 seconds on the clock earned No. 6 UC Irvine a 9-8 win over No. 8 UC Santa Barbara during both teams' Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opener held at the Gauchos' Campus Pool in front of a crowd of approximately 600 fans on Sunday afternoon.

With the loss, UCSB falls to 11-7 on the season and 0-1 in MPSF games, while UC Irvine improves to 6-3 overall and 1-0 in conference.

Sophomore Zsombor Vincze opened the game with a six-on-five goal to put the Gauchos ahead, 1-0 with 6:33 on the clock. Two minutes later, UC Irvine responded with the first of three goals from senior Tim Hutten, who scored during a six-on-five power play. During the next possession, junior Miles Price fired a shot that rebounded off of the crossbar and fell in front of senior Ross Sinclair who pushed the floating ball into the cage to regain the UCSB lead at 2-1.

Freshman Milos Golic stretched the lead to 3-1 with his first of three goals. Hutten responded with a goal during the next possession and a skip shot from Cole Bitter tied the game at 3-3 with 2:27 left to play in the first quarter. Golic put UCSB ahead 4-3 with a converted five-meter penalty shot.

Five minutes transpired in the second quarter without a single goal as Gaucho goalie Rick Wright posted an impressive eight saves in the period. Vincze had the only two goals of the quarter as he scored a pair of outside shots to stretch the Gaucho lead to 6-3 at halftime.

Brandon Johnson opened the second half with a goal scored with 6:14 on the clock. A couple minutes later, Colin Mello scored a one-on-nobody counter attack goal to put the Anteaters within one at 6-5. With just 25 seconds left in the third, Bitter scored his second goal of the game after drawing a foul outside the five-meter and firing the ball in, tying the game at 6-6 with one quarter left to play.

UC Irvine scored first in the fourth quarter with a six-on-five goal from Mello. With 3:41 left to play, Golic drew a five-meter penalty and once again converted the free-shot to tie the game at 7-7. A skip shot from Vincze put the Gauchos ahead by one with less than two minutes to play, but Hutten scored his third of the game during the next possession to once again even the score at 8-8.

With 25 seconds left in regulation play, Johnson scored his second goal to gain a 9-8 lead for UC Irvine. Vincze managed to draw an ordinary foul outside the five-meter mark with four seconds on the clock, the sophomore lobbed the ball cross-cage, but the shot fell just outside the right crossbar as the game clock expired giving the Anteaters the 9-8 win.

This marked the second one-goal loss to UC Irvine this season. UCSB dropped an 8-7 decision at Irvine on Sept. 20. The Gauchos have lost five of their last six contests by just one goal, all to top-10 ranked programs.

UCSB will visit non-conference opponent No. 12 UC San Diego next Friday, Oct. 5 at 6 pm. The game will be played at the Triton's Canyonview Pool.

UC Irvine 9, UC Santa Barbara 8

		        1	2	3	4	Final
UC Irvine	        3	0	3	3	9
UC Santa Barbara	4	2	0	2	8

UC Irvine Goals: Tim Hutten 3, Cole Bitter 2, Colin Mello 2, Brandon Johnson 2.
UC Santa Barbara Goals: Zsombor Vincze 4, Milos Golic 3, Ross Sinclair 1.

UC Irvine Goalie Saves: Matt Garcia 6.
UC Santa Barbara Goalie Saves: Rick Wright 14.