The result of Sunday’s game against visiting Villanova was not the shutout that the UCSB men’s soccer team was hoping for. However, the 0-0 double- overtime draw allowed the team to escape with a still unbeaten record of 4-0-1, and its third straight shutout.
“It didn’t go as planned,” junior midfielder Machael David said. “But our defense did a fantastic job keeping them from scoring.”
With the draw, Villanova’s record shifts to 2-1-2. UCSB maintains its No. 6 ranking in the nation among Division-1 men’s soccer programs.
Both teams had opportunities to attack on offense throughout the 110-minute stretch. The fifth minute saw Villanova junior midfielder Emerson Lawrence miss a shot from less than 20 yards out, giving junior Gaucho goalkeeper André Grandt the first of his four total saves of the game.
“André is playing very well,” David said. “He had some great saves and really helped our
backline on defense.” Senior midfielder Luis Silva
gave UCSB its first opportunity to score on goal in the 18th minute with a centered pass to senior midfielder James Kiffe on a free kick. Kiffe’s shot from 30 yards out was deflected by the Villanova goalkeeper, leaving the score knotted at 0-0.
Villanova nearly took the lead just five minutes later but was thwarted twice by the Gaucho defense. Grandt was drawn out of the goal as a Villanova forward took a shot from the left side of the box. UCSB sophomore defender Peter Schmetz immediately cleared the ball from the goal line. Moments later there was another quick shot by the Villanova offense, this time def lecting off the right goal post.
A handball by the Wildcat defense in front of the Villanova goal gave UCSB its best chance to take the lead. Silva’s penalty shot easily found the back of the net, but was recalled due to an encroachment call on the UCSB front line. Silva’s makeup attempt was wide left, leaving the score at 0-0 going into the half.
“I was going to the same side
[on the re-kick],” Silva said. “But I kind of hesitated and hit the post. It was unfortunate for us.”
The second half did not offer as many opportunities for either team, as both sides seemed to tighten their ranks defensively. A seemingly wide-open shot by sophomore forward David Opoku sailed just high of the goal post, and minutes later a header by senior midfielder Gaby Okito was tipped away by the Villanova goalkeeper in the last four minutes.
UCSB out-shot Villanova 3-2 in the overtime minutes, yet neither squad could break the draw. The Gauchos also led Villanova in total shots throughout the game, 15-11. Silva led the team with five shots, two of which were on goal. Grandt’s four saves earned him his third consecutive shutout.
“In the second half they dropped back and wouldn’t attack us at all,” Silva said. “We were trying to press as much as we could and we couldn’t finish it.”
The Gauchos return to action tomorrow at UCLA in a match against the No. 16 Bruins. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.