Fullerton, Calif. – Thirtieth-ranked UC Santa Barbara's 12-game Big West unbeaten streak came to a close at the hands of Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night, as the Titans held on for a 2-0 win at Titan Stadium.
The game, which was scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start, didn't actually kick off until almost 8:45 due to a previously scheduled women's soccer game going into double overtime.
Once play actually did begin, Cal State Fullerton (5-5-2, 1-2 Big West) controlled the run of play, recording eight shots in the first half compared to UCSB's (6-4-1, 2-1) five. There were only two shots on goal in the first interval, both by the Titans. A fourth minute shot by Garrett Losee was turned away by Gauchos keeper Brandon Berke, but the UCSB defense could not keep the Titans' next scoring opportunity from finding the back of the net.
In the 42nd minute, CSUF forward Nigel Patterson flicked a long throw-in towards the box. Off the pass, there was a scramble in the box before Robert Coronado pounced on the ball and chipped it past Berke.
The Titans extended their lead and shut the door on a UCSB comeback in the 82nd minute. With a majority of the Gauchos pushing forward as time was winding down, Fullerton was able to spring a counter attack going the other way. About 30 yards from goal and with space, CSUF's Spencer Johnson got his laces through the ball and blasted a shot off the goalpost, with the rebound coming to Mitchell Bell for an easy goal.
The loss for UCSB snapped both the conference unbeaten streak and the team's four-game overall win streak. It was the Gauchos' first loss to Cal State Fullerton since the 2010 season.
Sophomore forward Nick DePuy was held off the scoresheet for just the second time this season since moving up top, yet he still recorded five shots – half of the team's total of 10.
Freshman keeper Brandon Berke made a trio of saves, but picked up his first career loss as he moved to 4-1 on the season.
A good bit of news for the Gauchos came from elsewhere in the conference. With Sacramento State and Cal Poly pulling out wins on Thursday night, the Big West North Division has clinched home field advantage in the Big West Tournament Championship Match.
The Gauchos will look to get back in the win column on Saturday night as they travel to UC Riverside. UCSB is 23-4-1 all-time against the Highlanders. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and the match will be carried live by KZSB AM 1290 and UCSBgauchos.com with Gerry Fall on the mic.