McKenna Leads Gauchos to 2-0 Exhibition Win Over Westmont
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Senior forward Reed McKenna scored the opening tally and assisted on another to lead UC Santa Barbara to a season-opening 2-0 exhibition win over Westmont College in the annual Bryant & Sons Cup at Harder Stadium.
Having recorded just one goal and one assist in his junior season with the Gauchos, McKenna equaled that output within the first 25 minutes of Saturday night's contest.
In the 13th minute, McKenna made a run past his Westmont marker to receive a through ball from sophomore midfielder and Preseason MAC Hermann Award Watch List nominee Ismaila Jome. In the box, McKenna met the pass with a sliding first-touch strike, but Warriors keeper Josh Glover was able to make the stop. However, the rebound bounced right back to McKenna, who corralled the ball and calmly sent it into the back of the net.
McKenna later hooked up with Drew Murphy for a 25th minute goal. Lining up to take a corner kick, McKenna found Murphy in the box, and the sophomore midfielder was able to get a head on the pass and send it to the far post past Glover.
UCSB continued to apply pressure in the second half. Despite not showing up on the scoresheet, sophomore forward Armand Bagramyan consistently worked himself into open areas and recorded five shots in just 27 minutes of action.
The center back pairing of Jeff Quezada – making his collegiate debut – and Paul Ehmann played all 90 minutes and consistently frustrated Westmont's attackers. The Warriors mustered just five shots on Saturday night, none of which were on frame.
Besides Quezada, a number of other Gauchos made their NCAA debuts. Midfielder Ryo Fujii started and looked good in 67 minutes on the field. Goalkeeper Brandon Berke, defender Dugan Zier, forwards Alex Liua and Denis Kalamar, and midfielder Axel Mendez all made subsitute appearances as well.
Despite not making an official save in the shutout, sophomore keeper Josh McNeely earned his clean sheet by breaking up a pair of potentially dangerous crosses.
The Gauchos will open the regular season next week when they travel to South Carolina to take on the College of Charleston and Furman. Friday's regular season-opener against the Cougars is slated for a 4:30 Pacific start time.
To purchase season tickets for UCSB men's soccer, or for additional information, please drop by the Athletics Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB (8272) or online by clicking here.