LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - No. 8 UC Santa Barbara defeated No. 6 Pacific in a thrilling, triple overtime game that was decided by a sudden death goal scored by junior Jesse Gillespie. UCSB's 9-8 victory over Pacific put them into the fifth-place game against No. 7 UC Irvine. After its late-game heroics vs. Pacific, UCSB was not to be denied of a strong tournament finish, as it went on to defeat the Anteaters, 9-6.
UCSB used a strong first half defense and three Lazar Komadinic goals to take a 5-2 halftime lead over Pacific in the early game. By the start of the fourth quarter, the lead had swelled to 7-3 and UCSB looked to be advancing to the fifth-place game with ease. The sixth-ranked Tigers had a different plan however, as Goran Tomasevic and Balazs Erdelyi each scored twice to tie the game at 7-7 and force overtime.
Sophomore Matt Gronow scored with 2:26 remaining in the first overtime to give UCSB the lead. But Pacific countered back, with Erdelyi evening the game at 8-8. Neither team scored in the second overtime so per NCAA rules, a three-minute sudden death period ensued. The game seemed to be locked in a defensive standoff until Gillespie's goal with just 0:02 remaining won the game for the Gauchos.
After their long, grueling win against the Tigers, it would have been understandable for the Gauchos to come out flat against a tough Irvine squad. The Gauchos must have had their Wheaties® in the locker room, as they matched Irvine's intensity early.
Freshman Eric Van de Mortel had two goals in the second quarter and UCSB led at the break, 5-4. The Gauchos won the third quarter, 3-2, before shutting down the Anteaters in the fourth for the victory. Sophomore Jay Lovero had six saves in the game, including three in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory for UCSB.
Both victories can be largely credited to the suffocating Gaucho defense, as they held both teams under 10 goals. UCSB next plays on Saturday, October 9 against No. 4 ranked Stanford in Palo Alto.
1 2 3 4 OT SD Total
UCSB 2 3 2 0 1 1 9
Pacific 1 1 1 4 1 0 8
UCSB Goals: Komadinic 3, Gronow 2, Gillespie 2, D. Shoemaker, Van de Mortel
UCSB Goalkeeper Saves: Christian 11
Pacific Goals: Erdelyi 4, Tomasevic 3, Koning
Pacific Goalkeeper Saves: Malkis 12
1 2 3 4 Total
UCSB 2 3 3 1 9
UCI 1 3 2 0 6
UCSB Goals: Van de Mortel 3, Komadinic 2, B. Shoemaker, D. Shoemaker, B. Miller, Gillespie
UCSB Goalkeeper Saves: Lovero 7
UC Irvine Goals: Wise 2, Mourer 2, Figueroa, Pfeil
UC Irvine Goalkeeper Saves: Friedrich 4, Bailey 3