Oct. 20, 2005
Los Angeles- An early UCLA goal off of a free kick proved to be the game-winner as the 14th-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team fell 1-0 to the 11th-ranked Bruins in an exciting West Coast soccer showdown. The Gauchos outshot UCLA 10-8 in the match and drop to 7-3-3 on the season.
The Bruins struck first in the matches 3rd minute off of a set piece cross into the back post. Sophomore Kamani Hill stood over the free kick just outside the top right corner of the Gaucho penalty box. Hill arc well placed cross to the back post, finding the head of freshman Brad Rusin. Valdez redirected the ball across his body and into the upper corner for the 1-0 lead.
UCSB responded with a scoring chance of its own less than a minute later in similar fashion. Senior Pat Scott stood over a free kick about ten yards beyond the top left corner of the UCLA penalty box. Scott's cross made its way over the group in front of the net and senior Bryan Byrne elevated to meet it on the back post. Byrne headed the ball, catching the left post, with the end result careening across the frame. Sophomore preseason All-American Andy Iro was near the deflection but his shot was stopped before it left his foot by a Bruin defender. UCLA managed the clear the loose ball after that.
The Bruins almost struck again in the 25th minute when Hill was sent through on a back-post run. Hill ran onto the ball but Gaucho keeper Kyle Reynish closed down his angle and Hill was only able to send a cross that went untouched across the frame.
Santa Barbara nearly evened the match at one-all in the 35th minute when senior midfielder Nate Boyden got a Bryan Byrne corner kick on the back post. From their offensive left, Byrne lofted a cross to Boyden who redirected it on frame. UCLA keeper Eric Reed went low to save Boyden's shot with the rebound deflecting right back to Boyden. Boyden's second chance shot went wide.
With just under four minutes left in the half, Bruin Jordan Harvey unleashed a shot from 25 yards out after Iro was put to the ground in the center circle following a collision with a UCLA player. But Reynish was in great position to deflect the shot over the net and keep the Bruin lead to one.
Half two started out fairly even with neither side getting much of a quality scoring chance until Iro made a lunge on a Byrne cross in the 62nd minute. Byrne beat his man up the right side and sent a low liner into the near post. Battling with his man, Iro tussled his way to poke the ball with his left foot but his slow roller was scooped up by Reed, keeping it out of the net.
With just over five minutes remaining, Reynish cleared a ball over the Bruin backline, setting up freshman Chris Pontius who ran onto it. Pontius however was unable to corral it and get a shot off and the ball wound up rolling out of bounds.
One minute later, Reynish came up huge again for the Gauchos, cutting down the angle and forcing a Bruin breakaway wide to continue to give UCSB a chance at scoring the equalizer. But it was to no avail as neither team could muster much of a chance after that.
The Gauchos return to action in two days, resuming Big West Conference play against Cal Poly this Saturday, October 22nd at 7:00 p.m. in Harder Stadium.