Westmont Upends Gauchos in Exhibition

Randy Mendoza (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Randy Mendoza (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the first time since 2000, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team fell to Westmont College after the Warriors toppled the Gauchos 2-1 on Saturday night at Harder Stadium in the 55th Annual Bryant & Sons Cup.

UCSB held Westmont to just four shots throughout the match, only two in each half, but the Warriors made those shots count. After a relatively quiet opening 20 minutes, Westmont broke through for a goal in the 23rd minute off a corner kick. Augie Andrade sent the ball into the box past a crowd of players before landing at the feet of an open Blake Homan, who powered it in to the top of the goal.

Trailing 1-0, the Gauchos nearly found the equalizer just before half when Kavian Kashani crossed a ball to a slashing Noah Billingsley, who leaped above the defense but headed the ball just high over the goal.

"I thought we had some really good opportunities in the first half," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "There wasn't a ton of them, but we had four or five chances where we were looking at the keeper and if one of those go, it changes the complexion of the game."

In the second half, Westmont employed a defensive strategy to hold on to its narrow lead, but a UCSB miscue in the 83rd minute allowed the Warriors an offensive opportunity that saw Andrade find the back of the net off a two-on-one situation.

"It's a tough situation for us late in the game because this is the one opportunity to see some other players play," Vom Steeg said. "We're trying to chase a game, but at the same time I still have five or six players that I need to get in in a scrimmage situation and evaluate."

Derek Kryzda prevented the shutout for UCSB with a goal in the 90th minute, with just four seconds remaining on the clock.

Of the 21 Gauchos that saw action on the pitch, 12 were making their debuts in the blue and gold, including six of the starting 11. 

"We like the collective group that we have, but it's a group that has to learn how to play with each other," said Vom Steeg.

The Gauchos outshot the Warriors 10-4 and held a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks. Preseason All-Conference selection Noah Billingsley led the way with a game-high four shots while Frazer Poulter and Joseph Ammer tallied two apiece. Alan Carillo and Titouan Le Roux split time in goal.

UCSB opens the regular season next Friday, Aug. 25 against St. Mary's at 7:00 p.m. at Harder Stadium.