No. 3 Gauchos Remain Undefeated, Tie No. 12 UCLA

Ema Boateng (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ema Boateng (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Freshman Ema Boateng's first goal on Meredith Field at Harder Stadium proved to be a big one as the forward provided the game-tying strike in the second half against No. 12 UCLA to help No. 3 UC Santa Barbara remain undefeated. The Gauchos and Bruins settled for a 1-1 tie in front of the FOX Soccer Channel cameras and a crowd of 7,542 on Friday evening. 

With the draw, UCSB now stands at 5-0-2 on the season with both of its ties coming against Pac-12 programs. UCLA is now 4-1-2 on the year. 

Boateng's goal helped the Gauchos climb back into the game after the Bruins made the most out of their first shot on-goal in the 11th minute. Joe Sofia took a throw-in on the right side of the field and sent the ball to Fernando Monge, who headed it in from the far post beating Gaucho goalkeeper Austin Mansker, who was helping on the nearside.

UCSB had several opportunities at an equalizer in the first half as it out-shot UCLA, 10-4 in the period. The Gauchos' best chances were a pair of headers: the first from eight-yards out by Dom Sarle in the fourth minute, which was cleared on the left post, and the second was a soft header by Goffin Boyoko in the 26th minute that was easily collected by Bruin goalkeeper Earl Edwards. 

It was just over 67 minutes into the game that the Gauchos were finally able to break down the Bruin defense. Fifi Baiden started the play by feeding the ball to Boateng near the midfield line. The speedy freshman beat three defenders on the fastbreak as he cut towards the left side of the field. As Edwards came off his line, Boateng shot the ball to the far side of the goal for his second strike of the season. 

Though the Gauchos earned three corner kicks in the final 10 minutes of regulation, they were unable to capitalize on their set pieces and the game was forced into overtime.

In the waning minutes of the first overtime period, there was a trio of plays that looked as though they could result in the game's golden goal. With 3:03 on the clock, Ryan Hollingshead passed the ball through two Gaucho defenders to Reed Williams. As Mansker dove for the ball, Williams took a shot at the wide-open Gaucho goal but it went far right of the post. 

Just over a minute later, a nearly identical situation played out on the Gauchos' offensive end as Nic Ryan slipped the ball through a couple UCLA defenders to Boateng, who got an open look at the goal before simultaneously being called offsides and shooting just left of the goal.

With just five seconds remaining in the period, Max Estrada got a point blank shot off, but the ball sailed high and the teams were forced into a second overtime period.

In the final overtime period, neither team recorded a shot as they settled for a tie for the third time in their last eight meetings. 

The Gauchos led in shots (18-10), shots-on-goal (4-1) and corner kicks (8-1). Boateng, Dion Acoff, Charlie Miller and UCLA's Monge each had three shots in the match. 

Mansker made one save for the Gauchos while Edwards had three for the Bruins. 

The match marked the end of the Gauchos' six-match multiple goal-scoring streak. The last time they were limited to just one goal was the 2011 NCAA Tournament match-up with Creighton.

The Gauchos will remain at home for a Sunday match-up with Harvard at noon at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The match is a part of a doubleheader with the UCSB women's team. To purchase tickets, stop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB or click here.