SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In the regular season opener on Friday night, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team battled to a 0-0 draw against St. Mary's in a scrappy affair at Harder Stadium.
Throughout the night, neither team could muster much momentum and sloppy passing on both sides squandered a handful of chances.
"We fought for each other and that's what I asked them to do today," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "I thought that was really important for us to compete."
St. Mary's outshot the Gauchos 15-8 during the game, including an 8-3 advantage in the first half, and nearly found the back of the net in the 5th minute. In a 1-on-1 situation inside the box, UCSB keeper Alan Carrillo timed his run at the ball just right to deflect the shot and prevent an early goal.
The Gauchos first shot of the match, and one of the best looks in the half, came from Alex Liua, who fired from midfield at the goal but was denied by a diving save from the Gaels goalkeeper.
After St. Mary's edged UCSB in possession during the first 45 minutes, the Gauchos came out strong in the second half. A series of early corner kicks presented a handful of scoring opportunities for UCSB and a series of shots in the 76th minute nearly broke the scoreless tie.
Rodney Michael raced down the right side of the pitch and used some fancy footwork to beat his defender and cross the ball into the box. Ignacio Tellechea rose up and headed the ball strongly towards the goal but straight to the keeper. Just seconds later a flurry of shots continued and Tellechea had a great look right in front of the six-yard box but fired just wide left of the net.
"We played better as the game went on," said Vom Steeg. "I thought we were a better second half team and we created our best chances in the second half."
In the two overtime periods, St. Mary's tallied three shots while the Gauchos were held without a shot as the teams ended 110 minutes of play scoreless.
"I was very pleased with our effort, our energy, our work rate and all the intangibles," Vom Steeg said. "We will have to play better soccer to win games, but this was at least a place to build from."
The Gaels edged UCSB in corner kicks 6-4, with both teams totaling four corners apiece in the second half, and four yellow cards were handed out. Carrillo logged five saves in goal for UCSB while Remi Prieur finished with three. Tellechea and Derek Kryzda led the Gauchos with two shots apiece and Anders Engebretsen fired off a game-high three.
UCSB will turn right around to face Siena (N.Y.) this Sunday, Aug. 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Harder Stadium. Ticket information can be found here.