Sept. 24, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A record 15,896 fans poured into Harder Stadium on the UC Santa Barbara campus on Friday night and they were not disappointed as the Gaucho men's soccer team defeated visiting No. 7 UCLA by way of 2-0 score, avenging last year's season-ending loss to the Bruins in the NCAA Third Round.
The crowd marked the largest ever at the Gauchos' home stadium, topping the previous school record of 11,214 set during a NCAA quarterfinal match against Virginia Commonwealth on Dec. 4, 2004. The turnout was the second largest in NCAA regular season history and the best ever at an on-campus site. The NCAA regular season men's soccer attendance record is 22,512 fans and was set on Oct. 30, 1980 when St. Louis played SIU Edwardsville at Busch Stadium.
With the win UCSB improves to 3-2-2 overall this season and to 4-30-3 in its all-time series against the Bruins. UCLA falls to 4-2-1 on the year.
Freshman forward David Opoku - the reigning Big West Offensive Player of the Week - notched the game-winning goal in the 75th minute, just seconds after being subbed back into the game, to lead UCSB to the victory. The play began with Danny Barrera's corner kick, which he crossed into the box. Michael Boxall and Tim Pontius each got their head on the ball before it fell to the feet of Opoku, who was waiting just in front of the goal line near the left post. The forward collected the ball and sent it past UCLA's goalkeeper Brian Rowe to give UCSB a 1-0 lead.
UCSB was able to tack on one more goal in the last minute of the game when Luis Silva had a breakaway down the center of the field. He passed the ball to Barrera on his left side and the midfielder finished the counter attack, beating Rowe one-on-one to give the Gauchos the final 2-0 tally.
The Gauchos out-shot the Bruins 12-8 during the match and limited their opposition to just one shot in the first half. Barrera and Sam Garza each had three shots with two coming on-goal. UCLA's Kelyn Rowe led all players with five shots, all of which were on-frame.
In the goal, senior Sam Hayden - the reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Week - notched a career-high-tying six saves for UCSB.
"Sam (Hayden) was unbelievable in goal, our back line held solid and our midfield worked," head coach Tim Vom Steeg said after the match. "I thought (Luis) Silva came in and gave us a huge lift in the second half off the bench and I thought that was the key of the game."
After getting out to a slow 0-2-2 start to the season, UCSB has won its last three consecutive games, all shutouts.
"You have to enjoy victories like tonight because it's hard to get these kinds of win in this type of atmosphere," Vom Steeg said. "I said over the weekend that we have found ourselves a little bit, and a big win like tonight will certainly push us forward."
The Gauchos will open Big West Conference play next Wednesday, Sept. 29 when they head to Cal State Fullerton for a 7 p.m. pairing with the Titans. UCSB will be back at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 2 when the Gauchos host UC Davis in a Big West match at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.
UCSB is the proud host of the 2010 NCAA Men's College Cup which will take place Dec. 10 and 12 at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. This marks the first time since the 2004 season that the Cup has been held on the West Coast. All-Session passes for the College Cup can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online by clicking here.