SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Riverside scored three goals in the second half, including two in one minute, to pull past UC Santa Barbara 4-1 in the Gauchos' Big West opener at Harder Stadium on Friday night.
The match was much closer than the score would indicate, as UCSB (4-5-3, 0-1 Big West) trailed just 2-1 until the 83rd minute when the Highlanders (4-7-2, 1-0 Big West) knocked in two goals just 51 seconds apart.
The Gauchos were the aggressors all night, outshooting UCR 14-8 and controlling possession, but a few lapses late allowed the visiting team to pull away.
After the Highlanders scored the lone goal of the first half, UCSB netted the equalizer in the 56th minute. Colby Parker lofted a free kick into the box where Sydney Magnin headed the ball straight up and Lynsee Voss beat the defense to it and poked it to the right corner of the goal.
Just minutes later, however, UCR would score on a header off a corner kick to regain the lead.
In the 67th minute, Voss nearly had another goal with a slick juke move at the top of the box and a powerful shot that nearly went in if it were not for a last second leaping save from the Highlanders keeper.
Despite the pressure from UCSB, the Highlanders capitalized on a pair of opportunities late to put the game out of reach.
Despite holding a 14-8 shot advantage, the Gauchos put just four on target while UCR landed seven of its eight on frame. Both teams tallied two corner kicks. Shaelan Murison led all players with four shots while Amanda Ball tallied three and Voss, Magnin and Christine Maurer notched two apiece.
UCSB continues conference action on Sunday when they welcome UC Irvine to Harder Stadium at 1:00 p.m.