Oct. 12, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - No. 10 UC Santa Barbara took a 2-1 lead 20 minutes into the second half but allowed a goal with less than six minutes remaining in regulation and ultimately had to settle for a 2-2 tie with visiting UC Davis in Big West action Friday night at Harder Stadium. Alfonso Motagalvan scored in the 65th minute and Tino Nuñez followed 51 seconds later in what proved to be a very hotly contested match between the fierce conference rivals.
With the tie, UCSB remains unbeaten in Big West play at 3-0-1 and has won or tied its last six contests overall to improve to 6-2-3 in 2007. UC Davis' record now stands at 6-2-2 overall and 1-1-1 against league foes in its first full season as a member of the conference.
After the Gauchos routed the Aggies 4-0 in Davis September 29, head coach Tim Vom Steeg knew his team was in for a dogfight Friday night at Harder Stadium.
"(The Aggies) weren't too happy to lose 4-0 on their home field two weeks ago," Vom Steeg said. "Davis came out extremely aggressive tonight and they were hungry to get back at us. They took an early lead and were able to come back after we got the lead back. They're a very tough team and you have to give them credit."
While it was all Santa Barbara in the first meeting, that would not be the case in the rematch. Each team held the lead in a pairing that featured 39 fouls, nine yellow cards, and four reds.
With rain falling at kickoff, Davis wasted little time proving the Gauchos would have to earn this one and took a 1-0 lead on the second shot of the game. After a miscue in the UCSB backfield, forward Quincy Amarikwa won a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box, eluding a Gaucho defender who came sliding in on the play in the process. Amarikwa dribbled to his right drawing Santa Barbara goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner out of position, crossed over, and scored to the far post at the 8:38 mark.
Amarikwa is the first player to find the net against Santa Barbara in Big West play this season and his goal snapped the Gauchos' streak of over 330 scoreless minutes spanning the last five matches.
The early score proved to fire up both teams and three players were issued yellow cards in the first 21:05 of play. Things then got really interesting in the 23rd minute. After UCSB was whistled for a foul, words were exchanged and a fight ensued near midfield with all 22 players on the field involved. After the officials restored order, Dylan Curtis and Nicholas Lind were issued red cards and ejected from the match for the Aggies, while senior defender Andy Iro was given a red for the Gauchos.
With Davis playing a man down (9v10), the tide quickly turned in UCSB's favor and the Gauchos picked up their attack. But despite out-shooting the visitors 6-4 -- with four of those shots coming on frame -- Santa Barbara was unable to answer with the equalizer and went into the locker room trailing 1-0.
The Aggies continued to hold the lead until the Gauchos finally found a seam in their defense and got on the board at the 64:52 mark. Reigning College Soccer News and Soccer America National Player of the Week Chris Pontius dribbled the ball up field on the left side and fired from roughly 12 yards out. Davis keeper Brain Wickers was there for the save, but could not secure the loose ball. After senior midfielder Brennan Tennelle got a foot on the ball, Motagalvan was there to punch it at the goal line to tie the score at 1-1.
Energized but the score, the Gauchos came right back and took the lead less than a minute later. A ball was played up to junior midfielder Eric Avila on the attack and the 2007 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy candidate took a shot from the right side only to be denied by a diving save by Wickers. The rebound bounced directly to Nuñez, who buried an absolute rocket inside the right post from 15 yards out to give UCSB a 2-1 advantage at the 65:43 mark.
UC Davis did not fold, however, and responded roughly 20 minutes later. Midfielder Dan Campbell carried the ball on the right side on a counter attack and somehow connected with defender Jake Mogelson on a long cross through the box that slipped past several Gaucho defenders. Streaking to the left post, Mogelson punched it home at the 85:44 mark to tie the game again, 2-2.
Santa Barbara controlled things in the first overtime period, but failed to capitalize on three opportunities. Sophomore midfielder C.J. Cintas had an excellent look from five yards in front of the goal line, but Wickers was there once again and made another quality save.
Things looked even better in the second extra period when Davis was issued its third red card of the match. The Gauchos gained a two-player advantage when midfielder Chris Beville was ejected and aggressively tried to put in the game-winner, but Wickers denied sophomore midfielder David Walker on a break away and Motagalvan sent an open shot wide right before time expired.
While the score was deadlocked at two after 110 minutes, the match wasn't as close as it would appear. UCSB out-shot UC Davis 20-8, including 8-0 in the two overtime periods, and held a commanding 13-1 advantage in corner kicks. Wickers made seven saves for the Aggies, while Rueckner needed just one to earn the tie for Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos return to the pitch Wednesday, October 17 when they take to the road to face a much-improved Cal Poly squad. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.