Gauchos Draw With UC Riverside 2-2 in Big West Opener

Kevin Feucht (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Kevin Feucht (photo by Eric Isaacs)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara's goal-scoring duo of Kevin Feucht and Nick DePuy continued their productive Septembers on Thursday night, notching second half scores to help the Gauchos come back from two down to secure a 2-2 draw against UC Riverside in the Big West Conference opener for both team at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium. 

It was the fourth straight game that Feucht scored while DePuy found his name on the scoresheet for the third straight contest, helping UCSB end a five-game losing skid. 

Senior midfielder Romario Lomeli scored just before halftime for UCR (5-4-1), then set up Tyler Miguel's 67th minute marker to go up 2-0, but UCSB (4-5-1) was able to storm back after that. 

DePuy started the comeback in the 70th minute by getting his head on a beautiful cross from Josue España, who had sent in the ball from deep down the left wing after making a nice run. 

Things looked dire for UCSB in the 85th when freshman Lamar Batista was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the contest, but Feucht stepped up to save the day just moments later. 

Taking a free kick from about 30 yards out in the 87th, Feucht drilled a beautiful shot into the top left corner of the net past a diving Vincent Morales to tie it up and send it to overtime. 

Though there were only technically two saves combined between the two teams, overtime was far from a dull affair.

The best play from extra time came in the 104th minute, as UCSB defender Randy Mendoza leapt to get his chest on a goal-bound shot from Antonio Lokossou before it was cleared away from danger. 

Lomeli's opener, scored at the 42:43 mark, was set up off a UCSB turnover in the defensive third. Raul Guerrero was the one who pounced on the bad pass, taking a couple touches before playing a ball over the top for Lomeli, who chipped UCSB goalie Titouan Le Roux

Then at the 66:60 mark, Lomeli drove a long free kick from the left side to the far post, where an unmarked Miguel had space to head it home. 

The Gauchos will next be in action on Saturday night as they travel to Cal State Fullerton to clash with the Titans in a 7:00 p.m. contest. UCSBGauchos.com will have a live audio broadcast of that game, which can be accessed here