SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – An own goal by No. 16 Virginia Tech put the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team up early, but the visitors' three unanswered goals in response would prove to be too much to overcome as the Gauchos lost 3-1 at Harder Stadium on Sunday night.
With the result, UCSB (1-1-0) suffered its first loss at home, either in regular season or postseason play, since its loss against UC Riverside in the 2017 Big West Tournament first round.
In the 5th minute, transfer junior Ameyawu Muntari delivered a cross into the box from the left wing, which was on its way to the safe hands of Virginia Tech (2-0-0) goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld before defender Jon Ingason intervened and wrongfully poked the ball into his own net to put the Gauchos on the scoreboard first.
Less than three minutes later the Gauchos committed a foul 25 yards out from goal, setting up a free kick opportunity in the middle of the field.
Defender Jon Ingason set up behind the ball and masterfully hit it into the top right corner, out of the reach of UCSB sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach, to tie the game up at one-all.
Both squads held until the following half, in which each team saw chances early.
Roach was forced to make three saves in the span of seven minutes, while Gaucho attackers had several shots blocked and one saved by Swaneveld.
Then, in the 66th minute, a cross from midfielder James Kasak found its way past teammate Jacob Labovitz in the six yard box into the feet of a UCSB defender, left with no time to react as the ball went off the side of his foot over the line for the second own goal of the night, this time benefitting Virginia Tech to put the Hokies up 2-1.
Swaneveld spared himself from conceding a howler in the 71st minute after UCSB's senior striker Will Baynham unleashed a powerful effort from range, which nearly went through the legs of the visiting goalkeeper before he scooped it up before it crossed the goal line.
Virginia Tech put the game away in the 75th minute as a mid-range free kick effort from Jon Ingason was parried by Roach at his right post, only for Labovitz to pounce on the rebound at the opposite side of goal for the final goal of the game.
"I thought we had a little bit of difficulty tonight. We didn't really get into a rhythm. It's early in the year, but obviously we wanted to see a bit more quality come out tonight," Gauchos' twelfth-year Associate Head Coach Greg Wilson said of the team's performance, "I didn't think we were consistent enough out there."
UCSB's next match is this Saturday at 7 p.m. against Pac-12 rivals Cal. A live stream of the match will be available on BigWest.TV, accessible via the men's soccer schedule page.