Thrilling Overtime Win Secures Gauchos a Spot in Big West Tournament

Luis Silva (By Adam Caira)
Luis Silva (By Adam Caira)

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Senior Luis Silva's heroics with just 19 seconds remaining in the second overtime period propelled No. 16 UC Santa Barbara to a 3-2 victory over Cal State Northridge on Tuesday evening at Matador Soccer Field. The win secured the Gauchos a spot in the four-team Big West Conference Tournament, which will be played next week.

UCSB improves to 12-5-1 on the season and 5-4 in Big West play. Northridge falls to 7-8-3 and 3-4-2. The Gauchos now have 15 points and are tied for second in the conference standings with UC Davis.

With the clock running out on the second overtime period, Silva fired a shot, which deflected off of a Matador defender before finding the back of the goal to seal the UCSB win.

The Gauchos had come close to grabbing the victory in regulation time, but with just 1:12 remaining on the clock, Yarden Azulay placed a header into the top right of the Gaucho goal.

Silva broke the match's first tie in the 77th minute by converting a free kick from 45 yards out on the left side of the field.

UCSB never trailed during the contest as it captured the initial lead in the 17th minute when Sam Garza played a through ball into Josue Madueno in the box. The junior shot the ball to the low right corner for his second goal in as many games.

Northridge was able lock the game up at 1-1 before heading into the halftime break when Taylor Bowlin crossed a ball from the right side. The ball was deflected to Alberto Rosas, who volleyed it into the net from 20 yards out.

The Gauchos posted a season-high 26 shots with 11 coming on-frame. Northridge finished with 14 shots and seven on-frame. Sam Garza led all players with eight shots.

In goal, André Grandt posted five saves for UCSB. Michael Abalos had eight blocks for the Matadors.

UCSB will conclude its regular season schedule at home on Friday against Cal Poly. The pairing, which has been touted as the best college soccer rivalry in the nation by College Soccer News, will be televised live nationally on FOX Soccer Channel.

The match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium, but fans are encouraged to come early as the five Gaucho seniors will be honored prior to kickoff. 

To purchase your tickets to Friday's match, visit the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to buy online.