Gauchos Suffer 3-0 Home Loss to Cal

Omari Fontes earned his first start of his collegiate career in the Gauchos' 3-0 loss to Cal on Saturday night at Harder Stadium. (Photo by Gabrielle Penner)
Omari Fontes earned his first start of his collegiate career in the Gauchos' 3-0 loss to Cal on Saturday night at Harder Stadium. (Photo by Gabrielle Penner)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team (1-2-0) was defeated for the second time in as many games on Saturday night at Harder Stadium, suffering a 3-0 loss at the hands of Cal (2-0-1).

Cal's Simon Lekressner scored the opening goal 45 seconds into the game, after a pass from teammate Alonzo Del Mundo set up the Golden Bears' forward for a low right-footed shot into the net.

Forward Arman Samimi further separated the two teams by tapping in a cross from Del Mundo in the middle of the six-yard box to put the visitors ahead 2-0.

The Gauchos had a chance to pull one back in the 17th minute when senior striker Will Baynham's shot from close range created a rebound for sophomore striker Carter Clemmensen to pounce on with his right foot, but his attempt was cleared off the goal line by the head of Cal centerback Ian Lonergan.

Del Mundo completed his hat trick of assists with his corner kick from the left flag connecting with the head of Thomas Williamson at the back post to give Cal a three-goal lead in the 39th minute and complete the rout.

Sophomore right back Ryan Johnson and junior centerback Omari Fontes were given the first career starts for UCSB in the loss.

"We changed our formation for the night and tried to have some cover for the back. You see that Ben [Roach] had three saves and we gave up 13 shots. It's hard in soccer to not look at the score, but after the first fifteen minutes we were actually okay. I thought we had some looks in the second half, but when you bury yourself in soccer, you're kind of just chasing the wind," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg after the game.

"Our issue for me is that I might have lost so many guys in the back, but I didn't lose anybody up the field. So we've still got some work to do because we should definitely be putting balls away."

In the postgame press conference, Vom Steeg announced that junior centerback Hunter Ashworth and senior right wingback Noah Billingsley will be available for selection for the upcoming matches away at Gonzaga and Oregon State, after the duo return from the New Zealand Under-23 national team's pair of friendlies against Australia U-23. Ashworth and Billingsley will rejoin the national team later this month at the Oceania Football Confederation U-23 Championship in Fiji, with a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the line.

Next up for the Gauchos is a trip up to the Pacific Northwest for a match against Gonzaga on Thursday night. The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m.

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