Oct. 1, 2008
LOS ANGELES - It wasn't a victory, but perhaps the No. 15 UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team can take solace in the fact that they did not lose to UCLA on Wednesday night. After all, the Bruins have had the Gauchos' number for many, many years.
After years of dominance by the Bruins, the Gauchos have now made it two consecutive games in a row they have not lost to UCLA, winning the 2006 NCAA championship game and then settling for Wednesday's 2-2 tie in double overtime. UCLA still holds a decided edge in the series, despite Wednesday's outcome, with a 28-3-3 overall mark vs. UCSB.
UCSB is now 5-3-1 this season while UCLA's record is now 2-3-4.
It was UCSB's first double overtime game since its final game of the 2007 season when the Gauchos fell, 4-3, to Ohio State in the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament. It was UCSB's first tie since Nov. 17, 2007 when the Gauchos and UC Riverside finished in a 1-1 deadlock.
The Gauchos, now ranked in every major national poll after defeating Indiana last Saturday, got goals from freshman Luis Silva and senior Chris Pontius, taking just 10 shots overall, their second-lowest output this season. However, the Gauchos took three shots on goal and put two of those in.
Scoring his first career collegiate goal, Silva found the back of the net at 12:43 when he took a pass from freshman Danny Barrera then sent in a hard shot to the far left corner from just outside the top of the box for a quick 1-0 lead. It was an advantage the Gauchos took into halftime, but it would hardly last.
UCLA scored a goal just three minutes, one second into the second half when David Estrada knocked in a rebound off of a Kristopher Minton save to make things 1-1. UCLA took a 2-1 lead less than eight minutes later - at 55:59 - when Maxwell Griffin scored his fourth goal of the season when he also knocked home a ball that was originally deflected.
But the Bruins could not hold the lead.
For Pontius, it continued his assault on nets across the country as the forward has now scored eight times in the Gauchos' nine games, including five goals in his past four games. He knotted things up at 2-2 when he dribbled the ball across the box, then drilled in a shot to the far right corner at 77:01.
From there, the Gauchos controlled a portion of the remainder of the game, but the two teams went to overtime.
Kristopher Minton, making his second consecutive start in goal - and his third overall - made a save on Jason Leopaldo's shot at 96:21 as that was UCLA's lone shot in the first overtime. The Gauchos only managed one shot in the first OT.
The second overtime was just as quiet as UCLA was the only team to take a shot in the final 10 minutes and the teams had to settle for a tie.
Overall, Minton, the Big West Player of the Week after helping shut down Indiana, made three saves on five shots on goal.
The Gauchos will face UC Irvine on Saturday at Anteater Stadium. The game can be heard on KCSB 91.9 FM or streaming online at www.kcsb.org. The game is also available through Gametracker at www.UCSBGauchos.com.
The Gauchos return home next Wednesday to face Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or logging on to UCSBGauchos.com.