Seventh-Ranked Gauchos Regain First Place in the Big West With 2-1 Win at UC Riverside
Oct. 15, 2003
Riverside, Calif. -
Senior playmaker Memo Arzate's move towards the NCAA record books highlighted seventh-ranked UC Santa Barbara's 2-1 Big West Conference win over UC Riverside. UCSB regained its ownership of first place in the conference on Drew McAthy's fifth game-winning goal of the season in the 79th minute. The victory improves the Gauchos' record to 9-1-1 and 2-0-0 in the Big West, while the loss dropped the Highlanders to 5-5-1 and 1-1-1 in conference play.
UCSB struck early in the match when junior defender Jon Apilado pushed a clear up the right side of the field, finding the feet of a streaking Arzate. Arzate dribbled the ball near the top right corner of the penalty box and chipped a cross just in front of the UCR net. Senior forward Neil Jones grabbed the ball out of the air and headed it into the top corner, just inside the far post, for his team-leading ninth goal of the season and the first of two Arzate assists.
With the score remaining 1-0 at halftime after numurous missed scoring opportunities on UCSB's part, the Highlanders evenned the score with just over twenty minutes remaining. UCR's Jeff Pusey sent a shot on frame after a pair of Gaucho defenders fanned on a chance to clear the ball out of their zone. Junior goalkeeper Dan Kennedy managed to get his hands and the ball, but the speed of Pusey's shot allowed for the deflected ball to bank in off the left post.
Riverside's hopes would be short lived as Arzate and McAthy hooked up for the game-winner ten minutes later. Arzate took a pass near the top right of the penalty box and dribbled across the top and through the Highlander defense. With McAthy making a run, Arzate flicked a pass over the defense catching the junior forward in stride. Running across the front of the goal, McAthy brought down the pass with his left foot, turned, and one-timed a rocket just inside the right post, sealling UCSB's fifth straight conference win over UCR. McAthy and Jones are both tied for the conference lead, ranking amongst the top 25 in the nation, with nine goals apiece.
With two assists on the day, Arzate now has 29 in his career, putting him just one assist away from qualifying his .906 career assists per game average as one of top four percentages in the history of NCAA Division I soccer. His career total is now second all-time in Big West Conference history and just two short of tying the all-time mark of 31. Should he accomplish the feat, Arzate will have done so in under two seasons.
Kennedy picked up his ninth win of the season in goal, making a pair of key saves in the second half.
The Gauchos will continue Big West play this weekend when they host conference rival, 20th-ranked Cal State Northridge, this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium.