Oct. 18, 1999
Not Bloody Likely!The Gauchos lost two MPSF road contests against ranked opponents Cal State Fullerton and UCLA two weekends ago. Early last week, they learned they will probably have to play the remainder of the season without Thiba, suffering from a broken metatarsal. However, anyone who thought the Gauchos would pack it in at that point had another think coming! UCSB turned it around last weekend with MPSF wins at San Diego State and UC Irvine, bringing their record in conference games to 2-2-0 on the season. The conference sweep was UCSB's first-ever away from home. Head coach Tim Vom Steeg's Gauchos used junior midfielder Chris Schwandt's first career goal Friday night to edge the Aztecs 1-0 at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego. Sunday, UCSB avenged an earlier, non-conference loss to the Anteaters by coming from behind to post a 2-1 victory. Jaime Ambriz tied the game in the 59th minute and assisted on Sean Herrity's game-winner in the 87th minute. The Gauchos played the last 22 minutes of the game one man down, after sophomore Steven Sosa received a red card.
There's More Where That Came From! (Part II)As mentioned in this space last week, sophomore forward Jaime Ambriz is good. With Thiba out of the lineup indefinitely, the Gauchos have been looking to Ambriz for offensive support and the Oxnard, CA native has not disappointed. Ambriz answered the call Sunday at Irvine by tying the game at 1-1 when he connected on a penalty kick in the 59th minute. With three minutes left in the match, Ambriz found Sean Herrity for the game winner. The goal and assist gave Ambriz six and two on the season, respectively, tying him for the team lead (Thiba) with 14 points. Ambriz has now scored in six of the last seven matches in which UCSB has found the back of the net.
And Leave It On!With UCSB's clutch showings in its two MPSF contests away from the friendly confines of the ThunderPitch at Harder Stadium, one can't help but think head coach Tim Vom Steeg has an "Offense" button at his disposal. With the San Diego State game a scoreless tie at halftime, Vom Steeg brought beat-up junior midfielder Chris Schwandt off the bench. Schwandt had started 49 of 53 games for UCSB over the last three season, but had yet to score a goal. Fourteeen minutes later, Schwandt scored the only goal of the game, giving UCSB its first MPSF win. Tied 1-1 with five minutes remaining and playing one man down Sunday at Irvine, Vom Steeg re-entered Sean Herrity, no doubt with instructions to score. Herrity obliged, beating three Anteater defenders two minutes later to score his fourth goal of the season and give UCSB MPSF win number two.
Forget About It!In a September 26 match at Harder Stadium, UCI ended UCSB's season-high three-game winning streak by topping the Gauchos 1-0. UCSB's Thiba was red carded late in the contest. With Irvine leading Sunday's game 1-0 in the second half, it must have looked like more of the same for the Gauchos. That was until Ambriz and Herrity put UCSB ahead for good. With the MPSF win, UCSB avenged the early season loss, which did not count in the conference standings. With their second MPSF win of the season (and weekend), the Gauchos equaled the combined conference win total of their 1996 (1-4-0), 1997 (1-4-0) and 1998 (0-8-1) counterparts.
The Bottom Line! (Gaucho Scoring Leaders)Points: Thiago Martins 14 (6, 2), Jaime Ambriz 14 (6, 2), Sean Herrity 9 (4, 1).