September 15, 2013

Miller's OT Header Puts Gauchos Past Penn

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Forwards Charlie Miller and Ismaila Jome teamed up to create both goals in a 2-1 win over visiting Penn on Sunday afternoon, culminating in a double-overtime winner off the head of Miller that snapped a two-match losing streak for the Gauchos.

The game-winning goal came in the 104th minute, when senior defender Peter Schmetz played a ball down the left wing for Jome. The freshman forward took a single touch before sending a cross to the far post, where a pair of Gauchos were waiting in the box. Miller launced himself at the cross, redirecting the ball just inside the left post for the golden goal.

UCSB improved to 3-2 after defeating the Quakers, who fell to 2-2 with the loss.

Miller and Jome were responsible for the match's opening goal as well in a play remarkably similar to the eventual game-winner. Moving down the left wing in the 76th minute, Jome found Miller at the far post with a cross. Miller connected with the cross, sending the ball to the near post, where junior midfielder Adis Islamovic was waiting to tap it in.

Just two minutes later, Penn's Stephen Baker stole the Gaucho's momentum by curling a shot from the top of the box inside the left post to knot the match at 1-1, ultimately setting the stage for Miller's heroics.

"The takeaway for me was that we continued to battle and get a result we needed even after we gave up that tying goal," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "Sunday games are always difficult, so we're grateful that we could have Charlie come off the bench and do what he did."

The match might have ended much earlier if not for a highlight save from each keeper.

In the 65th minute, Quakers forward Sam Hayward intercepted a pass and took off on a breakaway. UCSB keeper Josh McNeely came out to challenge the attacker, and slid to knock the ball out of Hayward's reach and deny the Penn scoring opportunity.

McNeely ended the day with six saves, the most by a UCSB keeper in a match so far this season. He imporoved his personal record to 2-1 with the win.

Penn keeper Tyler Kinn extended the overtime period in the 95th minute with a spectacular save of his own. Senior forward Achille Campion was able to make solid contact on a header off a UCSB corner kick, sending it just inside the post. However, Kinn sprawled out and just got his right glove on the ball before it was able to cross the goal line.

The Gauchos will continue their seven-match homestand on Friday when they host another Ivy League institition in Yale. Tickets for that match are available here.