NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Noah Billingsley sent the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team to its fifth consecutive win, and third straight to open Big West Conference competition, with a golden goal in double overtime to lead the Gauchos past Cal State Northridge, 1-0, on the road on Thursday night.
In a clash between the preseason Big West North and South Division favorites, UCSB avoided what would have been its third scoreless draw this season with a late goal. With the win, the Gauchos improve to 5-4-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play, all against South opponents to improve its perch atop the standings. CSUN falls to 5-6-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the Big West.
Both teams matched each other shot for shot in regulation, including only one shot apiece in a relatively quiet first half. In the first overtime period, the Matadors outshot UCSB 3-0 and had a big opportunity with a breakaway in the final seconds, but Nicholas Grinde fired wide right to the Gauchos delight.
In the second overtime, the game seemed destined for a draw before UCSB generated one last chance. Kavian Kashani played the ball forward to freshman standout Rodney Michael, who retained possession despite pressure from two defenders. Managing to keep the ball in play, Michael tapped the ball over to Billingsley near the right corner of the box. The sophomore New Zealand native beat two defenders and powered a left-footed shot to the left corner of the net and in to end the game.
CSUN outshot the Gauchos 11-8 while UCSB held a 5-1 edge in corner kicks. Michael tied for game-high honors with three shots while Billingsley notched two, both of which were on target. Sahid Conteh, Gio Acosta and Derek Kryzda also tallied a shot in the match. Alan Carrillo and the CSUN keeper each tallied three saves apiece. For Carrillo and the Gauchos, it is their fifth shutout of the season.
The Gauchos will look to keep rolling as they continue their road trip against UC Irvine (6-4-2, 1-1-1 Big West) this Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7:00 p.m.