Oct. 17, 2008
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - With much of the attention turned toward UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Kristopher Minton and referee Chris Strickland because of debris being thrown onto the field at Spanos Stadium to open the second overtime period Friday, the real action took place seconds later at the other end of the field.
The Gauchos immediately sent the second OT kickoff down the field once Strickland blew his whistle to start play and David Walker sent a pass to the middle of the box where senior Chris Pontius put the ball away with a sliding right-footed scissor kick for a 1-0 win over Cal Poly. The goal came just 10 seconds into the second overtime period.
Making the win even more satisfying for the Gauchos was the fact that they were playing a man down after Michael Tetteh received a red card with less than four minutes remaining in regulation.
UCSB, ranked No. 19 in the nation, improves to 8-4-2 overall and 3-1-1 in the Big West while Cal Poly falls to 8-4-2, 3-2-0 in the Big West. It was also the Gauchos' second victory on national television this year after they blanked Kentucky 1-0 on Sept. 5, which was also aired on Fox Soccer Channel.
It was Pontius' 11th goal of the season, tying his total from last year when he was named the Big West Offensive Player of the Year. The Hermann Trophy candidate's 25 points are already one more than last season and the goal was the 26th of his career, placing him sixth all-time in UCSB history.
After playing 100 minutes of scoreless soccer in a game televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel, the start of the second overtime period was momentarily delayed as two bottles flew on to the field in Minton's direction. The crowd of 11,075 at Spanos Stadium is the third-largest to witness a regular-season soccer game. Fans can help break that mark on November 5 when Cal Poly visits UCSB at Harder Stadium, which holds 17,000.
While many were paying attention to Minton and Strickland - and eventually all the referees and UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg - talk about the ramifications should more debris enter the field, the rest of the Gauchos were ready once things were whistled live.
UCSB had an opportunity in the first overtime when Luis Silva fired a left-footed shot on goal, but Cal Poly goalie Eric Branagan-Franco knocked it down and recovered before anyone could knock in a rebound. Overall, the Gauchos had 20 shots and Minton posted his first career shutout. Minton made four saves.
Pontius totaled four shots - including two on goal - as did freshman Peter McGlynn. Silva, Walker and Nick Perera each had three shots. Branagan-Franco made 10 saves, the most by an opposing goalie this season.
The Gauchos' next game is Saturday, Oct. 25 at Cal State Fullerton. UCSB's next home game is Nov. 1 vs. UC Irvine, a team the Gauchos defeated earlier this season, 2-1. The first 500 fans to that game will receive a free seat cushion and all kids 13 an under will be admitted free.
Tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB or coming to the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.