Gauchos Upset No. 14 Pacific for First Win of 2017

Noah Billingsley (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Noah Billingsley (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team earned its first win of the season by handing No. 14 Pacific its first loss of the year with a 1-0 victory that the Gauchos dominated from start to finish on Friday night at Harder Stadium.

"It's a win and we'll take it," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "It's been a while coming, but to do it against a team as quality as Pacific is especially pleasing."

Throughout the match, UCSB (1-4-2) controlled possession and held the Tigers (6-1) without a shot on goal all night while outshooting their nationally-ranked opponent 14-5.

With the presence of midfielder Joseph Ammer back in the fold, the young Gauchos looked the best they have all season and it was Ammer who set up the game-winning score for UCSB in the second half.

Still scoreless in the 59th minute, Ammer raced down the right side of the pitch and played a ball to Rodney Michael, who tapped it right back to Ammer inside the box. The Florida Southern transfer proceeded to fire a shot at the goal that was too hot for the keeper to handle and the ball bounced out in front of the six-yard box. Ignacio Tellechea came sprinting in, had his first shot deflected straight in the air before running through for a second attempt to poke it into the back of the net.

Pacific did its best to press at the end of the match with two of its five shots in the final five minutes, but the UCSB defense held strong as it had done all night.

In addition to outshooting Pacific, the Gauchos held a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks while tallying more fouls 17-9 and yellow cards 4-2. Michael led UCSB with four shots while Ammer tallied three and Tellechea totaled two.

"Sometimes you have to have games like this to see what it takes to win a game," Vom Steeg said. "This group hadn't tasted victory so it was really pleasing tonight because we got a buy-in from everybody."

UCSB takes a break from NCAA action to host an exhibition against Club America U-20 this Sunday, Sept. 17 at 12:00 p.m. in the Inaugural Community Shield Match, which will serve as a kickoff to Hispanic Heritage Month.

Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272).