Nov. 6, 2004
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
Drew McAthy's eighth game-winning goal of the season propels fifth-ranked UC Santa Barbara to 1-0 victory over No. 18 Stanford, for the Gauchos' record-setting 12th shutout of the season and their fourth in-a-row. Senior Dan Kennedy was only forced to make one save for his tenth complete game shutout of the season.
For two consecutive matches now UCSB's opponents have come into Harder Stadium playing for a 0-0 tie, implementing a defensive 4-5-1 formation. And for two consecutive matches the fifth-ranked Gauchos turned off the lights with a 1-0 win in hand.
After a scoreless first half that saw both sides combine for four shots, three for Santa Barbara and one for the Cardinal, UCSB picked up its offense in the second half, ultimately outshooting 18th-ranked Stanford by a 11-2 margin.
Cardinal keeper Robby Fulton proved to be a formidable foe, making five huge saves on the nights, but McAthy and fellow forward junior Jonathan Davis found a way to break him in the 55th minute. Davis picked up the ball from senior Matt Bly on the left wing and fed the ball inside to McAthy just outside of the center circle. McAthy turned with the ball and pushed it through the Stanford defense to a streaking Davis down the left side. McAthy promptly took off to the top of the penalty box where Davis found UCSB's all-time leading goal scorer, now with 48, about 15 yards out. With Fulton playing Davis to shoot, McAthy one-timed a shot just inside the right post and past the diving keeper.
Davis and McAthy wound up hooking up again two more times after that on similar give-and-go plays. Davis had his rocketed shot stopped by Fulton to keep the Cardinal in the match, and McAthy's fourth and final shot on the night went high.
The defensive play of the Gauchos' back four, comprised of senior Tony Lochhead, juniors Nate Boyden and Pat Scott, and freshman Andy Iro, was once again stellar, limiting Stanford to just one shot on goal for UCSB's fourth consecutive shutout. Thanks in large part to Kennedy's play in the air picking off crosses, Santa Barbara's stout defense has allowed a total of just three shots on goal in the last four matches. Tonight's shutout gives the Gauchos 12 on the season, setting a new UCSB single season record and tying the squad for third-best in Big West history.
Currently sitting in first place in the Big West standings with a four point lead over No. 28 Cal State Northridge who topped Cal State Fullerton 3-0 today, the Gauchos closeout their regular season home schedule against the Matadors this Tuesday, November 9th at 7:00 p.m. Harder Stadium. With either a win or a tie against CSUN Santa Barbara can claim its third Big West Championship in the last four seasons. And as another way to thank the fans, all in attendance at the Senior Night match who wear either blue or gold will receive a free raffle ticket where they can win a multitude UCSB soccer prizes, including an actual game ball used in a match signed by the team.