The UCSB men’s soccer team didn’t manage to record a win in its home match against rival Cal Poly, ending with a 0-0 draw, but it did have an improved performance after being shutout 3-0 last Wednesday.
Saturday night brought on the always exciting Blue-Green rivalry at Harder Stadium where it was packed with 10,293 attendants, the largest attendance in NCAA men’s soccer this season.
Both teams played one another evenly as they each were able to create some chances on offense, but neither team could get the ball past the keeper. The defense of both teams held steady and kept opportunities for a shot on goal to a minimum.
At the end of the first half, UCSB took four shots and Cal Poly took three.
The second half brought on a second wind for the Cal Poly offense as the Mustangs were able to maintain possession of the ball for the majority of the game’s latter half. Cal Poly was able to regularly test the Gaucho defense and took five shots in the half, forcing UCSB’s goal keeper Alan Carrillo to make some incredible saves.
The freshman keeper turned away a near score in the 61st minute; the result of a well serviced cross from the left side of the box and a well-placed shot that Carrillo was able to dive in front of. In the final 10 minutes of the match, Carrillo found himself having to stop a high shot to the top left of the net that he incredibly punched away and out of play. The conclusion of regulation play left the match scoreless, forcing the third double overtime match in the month of October for the Gauchos.
Cal Poly was able to pose another goal scoring threat yet again in the first OT period, sending a free kick ball into the box that was headed on target, but Carrillo was able to strike it down. The ball was then sent off the left post on a shot off of the save which Carrillo promptly got on top of.
The Gauchos just could not find the offensive rhythm that they had in their victories earlier in conference play. The defensive play from UCSB was also concerning as from the start of the second half in regulation, Cal Poly was able to take control and create their own chances for shots on goal. The shaky defense from the Gauchos forced their keeper Carrillo to stand on his head throughout the match, keeping the team within range to win the game.
“I think we were only able to break once and within five seconds there five players on top of us,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “The rest of the time our center backs are at midfield looking into ten players and knowing that if you make a bad pass then you’re open on the right and the left and that’s when Alan made those two saves.”
While exciting, the Gauchos were certainly hoping for a better result from the Blue-Green rivalry as they ended the week of play with a 0-1-1 record.
The UCSB men’s soccer team found themselves heading into this week’s play with a full head of steam. The six game unbeaten streak for the club allowed the squad to climb the conference standings early in the season, bringing the team to the top of the North division, three points ahead of UC Davis, with ten points.
The position the Gauchos find themselves at the conclusion of this week’s play is now second in the North division, two points behind UC Davis, with 11 points.
The team is now finding themselves in a place of adversity. After two challenging games, the Gauchos will now face the challenge of making another climb up the standings with only four games remaining in the regular season. The Gauchos don’t need to run the table, but they do need to get enough favorable results in the remaining matches to get/stay ahead of UC Davis, who are looking like a threat to UCSB’s plans of taking the conference crown.
Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg referenced the youth off the team saying, “We got to the top of the box and shot where we have one more pass to make and we didn’t do it. It’s young, it’s inexperience, it’s the crowd, and we just need someone who can handle the ball well.”
The play from the young group of freshmen on the team, goalkeeper Alan Carrillo, forward Sahid Conteh and forward Rodney Michael, has been key to the Gaucho’s success this season.
However, the team has been shutout twice in their last two games and have a three game winless streak. The addition of junior Joseph Ammer, who has been out since September 15th with an injury, can fully complete the offense and has the team waiting for his return to the pitch headed into the late season push.
The Gauchos will play their next game on the road against the Sacramento State Hornets on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 3 p.m.