With three early season victories under its collective belt, the UCSB men’s soccer team was primed for Monday’s match at St. Mary’s. Despite thirteen first-half shots and twenty total attempts on goal, Santa Barbara failed to score and fell 1-0. With the loss, UCSB dropped to 3-1 on the season.
The Gauchos began the year with a commanding 3-0 victory over Long Island University. UCSB newcomer junior forward Rob Friend helped out with two assists in the victory. Freshman defender Tony Lochhead got involved in the offense as well, scoring one goal and assisting on another.
Next up for the team was 21st ranked Illinois-Chicago. The Gauchos remained trapped in a scoreless tie until the 70th minute, when Friend scored his first goal of the season to bring the score to 1-0. Freshman forward Matt Bly followed Friend with one of his own in the 79th minute, giving UCSB a comfortable 2-0 lead. The two goals were all Santa Barbara would need, as the Gauchos’ defense allowed only four shots on goal and freshman goalkeeper Dan Kennedy recorded his second straight shutout.
Following these two decisive victories, Friend, who had tallied a goal and two assists in two games, was named Big West Player of the Week. Friend, a member of the Canadian national team, was also named to the All-Mid American Conference team last season after playing for Western Michigan.
Following its victory over UI-C, UCSB ran its record to 3-0 with a resounding 3-1 win over San Diego State. But the victory didn’t come easily for the Gauchos, who fell behind just 15 seconds into the game when Enrique Tovar put SDSU up 1-0. Santa Barbara then rallied, as sophomore defender Neil Jones tied the game at 1-1 with a goal at the 6:09 mark. Friend and senior forward Jaime Ambriz also tallied a goal to secure the win for the UCSB.
The Gauchos suffered their first setback of the season the following Monday against St. Mary’s. UCSB failed to score and was shut out for the first time in the season, despite out-shooting its opponents 20-9. St. Mary’s goalkeeper Kellan Wilson recorded a shutout with eight saves, while Alex Avina scored the match’s only goal from ten yards out.
With three victories in four games, the Gauchos are optimistic about the remainder of the season. Santa Barbara has out-shot its opponents in each outing and UCSB hopes to continue its aggressive style of play for the rest of the season.