SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sixth-ranked UCSB posted its third consecutive shutout on Sunday afternoon as it battled to a 0-0 draw against visiting Villanova at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium.
With the tie, the Gauchos now stand at 4-0-1 on the season and stretch their home unbeaten streak to 14 consecutive games. The Wildcats now carry a 2-1-2 mark.
Both team's defenses were potent across the 110 minutes, but the match did see several missed opportunities on both ends.
Villanova got the first look of the game when Emerson Lawrence fired a shot from 18 yards out in the fifth minute. The shot was on frame and André Grandt came up with the first of his four saves.
Senior Luis Silva created the Gauchos' first shot opportunity in the 18th minute when he passed the ball to James Kiffe on a free kick. Kiffe beat his defender as he cut towards the goal and shot from 30 yards out, but Wildcat John Fogarty made the save to keep UCSB off the scoreboard.
Villanova nearly scored twice around the 23-minute mark when Kyle Soroka drew Grandt out of the goal with a shot from the left side of the box. Defender Peter Schmetz reacted quickly and cleared the ball off the goal line. Soon thereafter, Kevin Garcia intercepted a Gaucho pass and fired another quick shot that hit the right post before rebounding out of the field of play.
UCSB had its best chance to lock the game up in the 36th minute when, in a flurry of activity in front of the Villanova goal, a Wildcat player was called for a handball. The Gauchos were awarded a penalty kick and Silva found the back of the net, but the kick was recalled due to a UCSB player encroaching. Silva's second attempt went wide to the left and the tie remained heading into halftime.
UCSB had a few good looks in the second half, including a point-blank range shot by David Opoku that sailed high and a header by Gaby Okito that was tipped out by the goalkeeper in the last four minutes of regulation.
The Gauchos out-shot Villanova, 3-2, in overtime, but neither team managed to break the deadlock as they settled for the draw.
For the game, UCSB led the shot count, 15-11, and had an 8-5 advantage in shots on-frame. Silva led the team with five shots, including two on goal.
Grandt made four saves on his way to his third straight shutout. Villanova's Fogarty made eight stops in goal.
The Gauchos will be back in action next Friday, Sept. 16 when they head down to UCLA for a 7 p.m. match with the Bruins. The game will be the first of the season to be broadcast by AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press Radio Station.
GKids is the official kids club of UCSB Athletics available to kids in eighth grade or younger. Members receive the official 2011-12 GKids t-shirt, Olé's Coloring Book and Guide for Being a Gaucho, entry into every regular season soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball game, and much more! To sign up today, click here.