SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team tallied three goals on the scoreboard and head coach Tim Vom Steeg tallied his 250th career victory after the Gauchos downed UC Riverside 3-1 in a designated non-conference match on Sunday night at Harder Stadium.
The win continues the sweet redemption tour for UCSB (2-0), who have now beaten Westmont (in an exhibition), St. John's and UC Riverside to start the year – all three teams that beat the Gauchos last season. It also marked a milestone for the 20-year head coach and all-time winningest coach in program history.
"It was nice to get 250 on a night like tonight," Vom Steeg said. "I enjoyed the way our team played tonight and I liked our effort, so it's very rewarding. It is an incredible challenge to take a new group of players every single year - which we end up having to do quite a bit here at UCSB - and make it work. But for me, I'm hoping this year will be not 250, but 270. Our goal is to rack up as many wins as we can and keep this thing going."
Despite a slow start adjusting to the Highlander's unique style of play, the Gauchos were able to break through of a free kick in the 38th minute. After Thibault Candia launched the ball into the box from the left side and it was deflected away, Sahid Conteh kept the play alive with a cross of his own from the right side. The ball curved towards the far post and Faouzi Taieb rose up and headed the ball down and into the net for a goal.
For the second straight game, UCSB got on the board just before the half and did not let up once the second 45 minutes of play began.
Known for his knack of scoring the ball, freshman Carter Clemmensen continued to show off his arsenal with yet another goal over the weekend, coming in the 56th minute. It was Candia once again getting the play started and Joseph Ammer, making his season debut, who played the ball up to Clemmensen. The 6-foot-3 forward from Paradise Valley, Ariz. gave a great one-touch to set himself up in front of the goal and he fired it just above the keeper into the center of the net for the second goal of his young collegiate career in as many games.
"Once again, the difference tonight was the quality of players that we had come off the bench and they gave us great minutes," Vom Steeg said.
After UC Riverside's Daniel Aguirre cut the lead in half with a tough goal to the top left corner from 20 yards out in the 85th minute, it was another player off the Gauchos' bench that came through with the late insurance.
UCSB outshot the Highlanders 13-9 and were edged 4-2 in corner kicks. Conteh led all players with three shots in the game while Ammer, Clemmensen and Gomez recorded two apiece. Ben Roach finished with two saves between the sticks.
In a fairly chippy contest throughout the night, a total of 27 fouls were called with UCR edging UCSB 14-13 in that department.
The Gauchos will now head out on the road for difficult pair of matches against RV Portland this Friday, Aug. 31 and No. 22 Seattle on Sunday, Sept. 2.
"We always talk about how seasons in college soccer can go one direction or another in a weekend," said Vom Steeg. "Now have to find out if we're a road team, if we're a tough team, and that starts this Friday."
UCSB hosts the 2018 College Cup at Harder Stadium in December and season tickets as well as College Cup packages are on sale now and can be found online here or by calling the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB.