Oct. 5, 2005
Fullerton, Calif. - For the fourth time in the last five matches senior forward Ivan Becerra nets two goals to lead the 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team to a 4-0 Big West Conference win at Cal State Fullerton. The win strengthened the Gauchos' hold on first place in the conference at 3-0 in league play and 6-2-1 overall.
Standout freshman midfielder Eric Avila fed Becerra for UCSB's first goal of the match less than eight minutes in. Avila picked off a ball in the Titans' backline following an arrant throw-in and slid a pass through to an onrushing Becerra who cracked a shot past the Fullerton goalkeeper for what proved to be the game-winner, also Becerra's fourth in the last four matches.
Santa Barbara made it 2-0 before halftime following one of many flurries in the CSUF goal box on the night. Senior midfielder Bryan Byrne stood over one of seven Gaucho corner kicks on the night and sent a perfect ball into the Fullerton 6-yard box, finding the head of junior defender Jeff Murphy. Murphy's shot wound up hitting the near post and it ricocheted right back at him. Sophomore preseason All-American defender Andy Iro was in perfect position for Murphy's rebound and he finished off the set piece with his first goal of the season in the 26th minute of the match.
The Gauchos carried their 2-0 lead into halftime and came out firing in the second half, looking to increase their advantage. After a couple of chances in the early goings, Becerra eventually tallied his second goal of the night in the 66th minute. Iro continued to show off some more his offensive prowess when he picked up a loose ball out wide to the left of the Titan goal following yet another UCSB corner kick and whipped a cross into the box, leaving the rest up to Becerra. Becerra one-timed the pass and buried a beautiful12-yard volley for his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Becerra, named to this week's College Soccer News National Team of the Week after scoring a pair at Cal Poly last week, is now tied Cal State Northridge forward Willie Sims for the overall conference lead with his eight leading into this weekend's head-to-head showdown.
Santa Barbara was never stopped attacking and it persistence paid off with less than six minutes to go in the match. Junior midfielder Eric Frimpong received the ball in the middle of the park and sent freshman forward Nick Perera through on a clear run at the Fullerton net. One-on-one with the Titan netminder, Perera drew Armstong farther off his line before laying off a pass to the now onrushing Frimpong near the top of the 18-yard box. Frimpong one-timed Perera's pass and rifled a shot inside the near post for the first goal of his collegiate career. The assist was also Perera's first career point.
Reynish was only forced to make one save in the match, coming late in the second half, to post his fourth shutout of the season as the Gauchos' defense limited CSUF to six shots in the match. UCSB fired off 17 in the winning effort.
Santa Barbara's win tonight adds to this Saturday's excitement in Harder Stadium as it will put its perfect 3-0 Big West record on the line against 2-0 CSUN on national television. The showdown between the two squads has always been spirited with both sides trading wins at each other's places the last three seasons. Saturday's match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. but it is advised that fans arrive early in order to accommodate for the time it takes to park around Harder Stadium. The match will be aired nationally on tape-delay this Sunday, October 9th at 7:00 p.m. PST on CSTV. Check your local listings for channel information.