After not registering a draw in its first 15 matches of the season, the No. 7 UCSB men’s soccer team concluded Saturday night’s game at Harder Stadium with its second consecutive draw in a 1-1 decision against UC Davis.
Saturday’s draw brings Santa Barbara’s record to 11-4-2 on the season with an undefeated 6-0-2 conference mark. Davis, meanwhile, moved to 6-8-3 overall and 2-4-2 in the Big West. For the Gauchos, the draw extended their undefeated streak to nine games.
“On one hand, it’s a home game and we certainly would hope to come out with a win in a home game,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “But given what we had on the field and what we were missing, and the fact that we fell behind against a team that hasn’t lost when they get ahead of you, [it’s a good result].”
Santa Barbara entered the match against Davis shorthanded, with three starters on the bench. Senior defender Peter Schmetz and senior forward Achille Campion both missed the contest due to injury, while freshman midfielder Drew Murphy had to sit out because of the five yellow cards he has totaled this season.
Shorthanded, the Gauchos had to rely on its depth to provide a difference maker in this match, something that never came for UCSB as both teams entered the half scoreless.
“I think it was pretty evident we just didn’t have the same push as we normally would. I also thought the team, after a kind of lackluster first half, we actually played pretty well in the second half and I thought we had good energy. We wore them down.”
Davis struck first in a more exciting second half with a 71st minute goal from junior forward Matt Sheldon.
UCSB quickly responded, however, as sophomore Charlie Miller’s 82nd minute header kept the Gauchos undefeated streak in tact. It was Miller’s third goal of the season, which is tied for third on the team. Junior defender Kevin Garcia-Lopez and senior midfielder Goffin Boyoko each assisted on the play.
Neither team could convert in the two overtime periods, as UCSB had to settle for its second straight draw. When UCSB faced Davis earlier in the season, the Gauchos emerged with a 2-1 victory in double overtime playing up North.
Overall, UCSB outshot Davis 14-11 but the Aggies maintained a 5-4 advantage in shots on goal. Freshman goalkeeper Josh McNeely made four saves for the Gauchos, while Miller led UCSB with four shots and three on goal coming off the bench.
With the Big West North Division title already locked up, the Gauchos are battling to secure the top spot in the entire conference and position themselves to secure a NCAA postseason bid regardless of the Big West Tournament results.
“We didn’t lose, we haven’t lost in the month of October, so we just have to take the positives out of it,” Vom Steeg said. “We have to kind of regroup a little bit and again find a way to win the next game.”
UCSB next travels to Sacramento State on Wednesday for a 2 p.m. match.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of November 4, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of The Daily Nexus.