SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 21 UC Santa Barbara had four different players score a goal on Friday night, doubling the team's season scoring total in one fell stroke and vanquishing the Colgate Raiders by a score of 4-1 at Harder Stadium in the first contest of a six-game homestand.
Sophomore midfielder Drew Murphy opened the scoring for the Gauchos (2-2-1) with a 43rd minute penalty conversion. Freshman midfielder Axel Mendez added another penalty score just after the halftime break for the eventual game-winner, then sophomore midfielder Ismaila Jome and freshman forward Denis Kalamar added insurance goals late in the second half.
The Gauchos dominated the Raiders (1-2-1) from an offensive standpoint, outshooting the opposition 22-4 (9-2 shots on goal). As a team, it was UCSB's highest goal and shot output since the 2012 season (six against Seattle on Sep. 12 and 26 against UC Davis on Oct. 28, respectively).
"It was a good bounce back performance from our squad," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "Once again, we played well connecting things and we were able to finish our opportunities tonight."
Things started off slowly in the match, with both teams registering just one shot through the opening fifteen minutes.
Mendez had the game's first scoring opportunity in the sixteenth minute, when he ripped a 25 yard shot to the top left corner of the goal that Colgate keeper Ricky Brown was just able to get a hand on and tip to the crossbar.
Freshman defender Jeff Quezada, who started at right back, had a similar goal-bound shot slapped away by Brown in the 23rd minute.
Despite owning the majority of scoring opportunities, UCSB wasn't able to break through until the 43rd minute. Playing at the top of the Colgate penalty area, sophomore midfielder Nick DePuy was attempting to gain control of a clearance attempt when a Raiders defender recklessly slid in late and took him down. Stepping up to the spot, Murphy got the keeper to guess the wrong way as he sent a shot to his left, putting the Gauchos up 1-0.
Another reckless challenge, this time on senior defender Kevin Garcia-Lopez, gave UCSB another penalty kick in the 49th minute. Trying to get on the end of a Jome through ball, Garcia-Lopez darted through to the left side of the box, where he was taken down from behind by his Colgate marker after being beat to the pass. Mendez went right down the middle with his spot kick while the goalie dove left to score his first collegiate goal.
A 66th minute goal from Colgate's Ethan Kulter (he owns all four of his team's goals this season) off a free kick brought the score to 2-1, but the Gauchos responded quickly and with aplomb.
In the 74th minute, a Drew Murphy cross from the left side bounced around in the box before finding its way to the feet of Jome, who wasted no time in burying a shot past Brown for his first goal of the year.
UCSB saved its most aesthetically pleasing goal for last. In the 87 minute, Kalamar was able to notch his first NCAA goal as well by blasting a long-range, 27-yard shot above the keeper's head.
"We were able to score tonight because we played as a collective unit," said Mendez after the game. "It was good to see that we were finally able to finish the ball."
Sophomore goalkeeper Josh McNeely made one save for the Gauchos while narrowly missing his first clean sheet of the season. Brown made five stops for Colgate.
The Gauchos will be back in action next Saturday, Sept. 20 as they host UCLA, who entered this past week as the top-ranked team in the nation. That match will be televised nationally by NSCAA TV.
The last few matchups between the Gauchos and Bruins have provided some epic battles, including UCSB's 2-0 win on Sept. 24, 2010 that set a regular season, on-campus record for attendance with 15,896 fans packing Harder Stadium. Tickets to this year's rivalry game can be purchased here.