STOCKTON, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team's matchup at Pacific had a "down under" theme to it, as the Australian duo of senior forward Will Baynham and freshman attacking midfielder Finn Ballard McBride helped the Gauchos extend their season-long win streak to five, the program's longest since 2015.
Junior right wing Rodney Michael crossed the ball into the middle of the Pacific 18-yard box, where Baynham headed the ball towards goal. Initially, the goalkeeper Ethan Bandre made the save, but Baynham was there to head the rebound in for the Gauchos to go up 1-0 in the 25th minute.
In the 36th minute, the Gauchos got their second goal after senior attacking midfielder Thibault Candia led Ballard McBride into a position to cross on the left wing. His attempted cross, intended for Baynham in the middle, travelled all the way through traffic into the far side of the goal without touching a single UCSB attacker or a Pacific defender.
For all their faults in the first half, Pacific controlled possession in the second 45 minutes.
Their best chance came in the 76th minute, when Derick Roque's hard shot into the upper right corner of the goal required a sensational save by sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach.
Roach commandeered UCSB's fourth clean sheet in the last five games, making five saves for his sixth win of the season.
"I think we feel like we've grown in confidence. Anytime you start to win five games, you gain confidence and momentum and feel like things are going to work out your way. In general, I thought we did a lot of things better tonight than we have. It's a hard place to play and they (Pacific) will win their share of games, so for us I think it was one that we needed to win tonight," said head coach Tim Vom Steeg.
The Gauchos head home as they prepare to face top-ranked Stanford on Saturday at 7 p.m. The match will be available to stream on BigWest TV and an audio-only feed will be available via KCSB-FM student radio.