SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – New Mexico freshman attacker Niko Hansen stunned a packed Harder Stadium on Monday night by scoring a goal with 12 seconds remaining in regulation, giving the Lobos a road victory over UC Santa Barbara after the teams had battled to a goalless score line over the first 89 minutes of the match.
With 30 seconds remaining in the second half and the Gauchos (4-3-0) taking a goal kick, it looked as if the two teams were destined for overtime. However, New Mexico (4-2-1) was able to force a turnover and launched one last attack on the UCSB goal.
Moving swiftly towards goal, Hansen played a ball to the right of the box for teammate James Rogers, who shielded the ball from his marker momentarily before playing a ball back into the box for Hansen. In full stride, the Sacramento native took one touch then fired to the short side, narrowly beating UCSB keeper Josh McNeely.
UCSB's back line had done a nice job containing the speedy New Mexico offense up to that point, as the game winning goal was the Lobos first shot on frame for the entire match.
In the early stages of the match, UCSB had a clear advantage in scoring opportunities and possession. The Gauchos were able to earn a trio of corner kicks within the first half hour of the match, but couldn't convert chances from their service against a Northwestern defense that featured four backs standing 6-3 or taller.
Senior forward Goffin Boyoko got a clean look at goal in the 23rd minute, but New Mexico keeper Michael Lisch was up to the task for his only save of the game.
In the second half, the Gauchos were inches away from a goal after producing a number of chances off back-to-back corner kicks won in the 54th minute. Taking the latter kick, freshman midfielder Drew Murphy served a ball that found its way to the head of Charlie Miller, who provided headed goals for UCSB in each of the last two matches. The sophomore forward sent the ball goal-ward, but Lobos defender Kyle Venter drew the ire of many of the 3,147 fans in attendance with a goal line clearance that extinguished the Gauchos opportunity.
Senior forward Achille Campion, who was earlier today named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week, took what ended up as the Gauchos last shot in the 66th minute. After receiving a brilliant long ball from Murphy at the halfway line, the Paris native advanced down the left side before cutting back upon reaching the box and shooting towards goal, however his drive landed wide of the mark.
UCSB will look to bounce back on Friday night when they host west coast rival Stanford at Harder Stadium. That match will be broadcasted worldwide by NSCAA.tv. The first match for the Gauchos after Fall Quarter classes commences has produced some of the biggest crowds in NCAA history, including the 15,896 fans who packed the house to see Tim Vom Steeg's squad down the UCLA Bruins on Sep. 24, 2010. To make sure you don't miss out on this pivotal non-conference matchup, call 805.893.UCSB, visit the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus, or buy here.
Another exciting season of Talk'n Gauchos debuts Tuesday, September 24 at 6 p.m. live from the Beachside Bar Café. The hour-long show, carried live by AM 1290 News Press Radio, is hosted by the Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, and covers Gaucho Athletics from A-Z.
Volleyball and soccer will be on the menu Tuesday, as Gerry will be joined live by men's soccer head coach Tim Vom Steeg and women's volleyball's Nicole Lantagne Welch.
To listen to Talk'n Gauchos online, click here.