Aug. 27, 2005
Santa Barbara, Calif. - It was not exactly what could be called a defensive gem, but the fourth-ranked Gauchos held on to down Westmont College 4-3 in a preseason exhibition match. Still in the transition period welcoming five new starters into the lineup, the Gauchos' offense looked stout in claiming their fifth-straight Annual Bryant & Sons cup with the win over their crosstown rivals.
Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne opened the scoring in the third minute, knocking in a cross from junior defender Jeff Murphy. But Westmont's Michael Thompson evened the match just over ten minutes later.
Following Thompson's tally, UCSB rattled off two straight goals to take a 3-1 advantage midway through the first half. Sophomore preseason All-American defender Andy Iro showed that he has some offensive prowess, carrying the ball from just beyond the center-circle and unleashed a wicked left-footed shot from 25 yards out to give that advantage back to the Gauchos. Santa Barbara got its third goal on another screaming left-footed shot, except this time it was senior forward Ivan Becerra who was behind it. Sophomore Brennan Tennelle sent a ball into the box from the left-flank that found Becerra ten yards out on the near post. Becerra turned and beat Warrior goalkeeper Josh DeForest before he even had a chance to move.
The visitors made a game out of it approaching the final ten minutes of the first half narrowing the gap to one goal when Luke Williams beat his defender to a rebound in front of the net to make 3-2 heading into halftime.
UCSB came out quickly in the second half, when senior defender Pat Scott netted what proved to be the game-winning goal. Similar to Iro's goal, Scott carried the ball up the right side of the field and into the Westmont box almost untouched. When he was about 15 yards out, Scott fired one near post to put the Gauchos up 4-2.
Westmont eventually closed the gap back down to one in the 75th minute on a corner kick by former Gaucho Johnny Alcaraz. UCSB keeper Kyle Reynish was hit from behind in the box, allowing Blake Thompson to put a head on the ball and send into the back of the net.
The game was a good preseason warm-up for the Gauchos as they were able the try a multitude of lineups and formations in the match. It also allowed the coaching staff to see what might work and what might not when they open up the regular season next weekend with the UCSB adidas Classic.
The No. 4 Gauchos will host No. 6 Virginia, No. 20 Cal, and Big West foe UC Riverside on Friday, September 2nd and Sunday September 4th. UCSB entertains Berkley on Friday at approximately 7:30 p.m. and the Cavaliers on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. UVA and UCR kickoff the weekend on Friday at 5:00 p.m.