Nov. 25, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - On October 11, UC Santa Barbara lost a 1-0 decision at UC Riverside. The defeat dropped the Gauchos' record to 7-6 on the season, 3-2 in Big West play.
On Saturday night, junior midfielder Tyler Rosenlund scored three goals, including two in the second half, to lead UCSB to a 3-2 win over Northwestern in the NCAA Quarterfinals in front of 8,784 at Harder Stadium. The victory sends the Gauchos to St. Louis for their second College Cup in the last three seasons. What a difference six weeks makes.
UCSB, who won for only the second time this season after trailing in the match, improves to 16-7-0 overall. NU saw its season come to a close at 14-8. The Wildcats lost for the first time in 2006 when scoring two or more goals.
"When we were 7-6 things were really in the hands of the players," said Santa Barbara head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "I have to give them a great deal of credit. They could easily have packed it in, but they didn't. They stuck together and turned things around."
Rosenlund, whose return to health has been one of the key factors in UCSB's turnaround, scored his first goal of the match and second of the season at 9:20 in the first half. Senior forward Bryan Byrne intercepted a pass on the right wing and drove up the field, taking his defender with him. He turned cut into the box and slid a perfect pass that eluded a pair of defenders, to Rosenlund who carried the ball in for the early 1-0 lead.
Northwestern responded minutes later, tying the score in the 13th-minute. Midfielder Carl Pett dribbled down the right side and was pursued by Gaucho defender Andy Iro. Iro lost his feet and went to the turf and Pett continued into the box, uncontested. Goalkeeper Kyle Reynish came off of his line to cut down the angle but Pett crossed a pass to Brad North on the left side of the goal box and North drove the ball into the open goal.
The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead at 37:55. After a foul, forward Gerardo Alvarez took a free kick from about 30 yards straight out. Alvarez put the ball over the wall and threaded the needle into the upper left corner of the goal, beyond the outstretched hand of a leaping Reynish. The 2-1 lead held at halftime.
UCSB wasted little time getting the equalizer in the second half. Jon Curry, who replaced an under-the-weather Brennan Tennelle to open the half, took a through-ball from Eric Frimpong and carried it into the Northwestern box. Curry beat his defender and crossed a perfect pass to Rosenlund who one-timed it past goalkeeper Justin Pines for his second goal of the match and third of the season. The time of the score was 47:07.
Just over 15 minutes later, at 62:22, it was Rosenlund again as he took a feed from midfielder Eric Avila at the top left corner of the box and drilled a perfect shot into the upper right corner of the goal, beyond a leaping Pines. The goal completed Rosunlund's hat trick and gave him four goals on the season.
After the Gauchos took the lead, Reynish and the defense took over. UCSB's senior goalkeeper finished with four saves, including two in the second half. He also came off his line on a number of occasions to break-up Wildcat scoring opportunities and he had several punch-outs on corner kicks.
The victory was Santa Barbara's ninth in its last 10 matches and fourth in a row in the NCAA Tournament. With the win, the Gauchos advance to their second College Cup in the last three seasons. They will meet Wake Forest on Friday, Dec. 1 in an NCAA Semifinal match in St. Louis. Virginia is also in the College Cup and the fourth member will be determined on Sunday morning when UCLA plays at Duke.