The #15 UCSB men’s soccer team took a long time to wake up on offense Saturday night against Cal Poly at Harder Stadium, but when the Gauchos finally did, they awoke with a fury.
Santa Barbara’s first goal, in the 64th minute, opened the floodgates for two more late goals in a 3-0 thrashing of the Mustangs.
“The only damage we had was overlooking them in the first half,” UCSB Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “But we knew if we got one goal we would win.”
Sophomore forward Drew McAthy drilled the first goal of the game from 18 yards out, with assists from junior midfielder Memo Arzate and senior midfielder Dan Young. Arzate wove through numerous Mustang defenders before finding McAthy, who helped Arzate collect his 14th assist – which leads the Big West- on the season.
“Memo had a couple of options, but he passed it to me and I was able to score,” McAthy said.
Arzate later went on to score a goal of his own in the 81st minute. Junior forward Gene Deering’s shot-on-goal off a corner kick from junior midfielder Matt Kubota was blocked by Cal Poly sophomore goalkeeper Luke Albertalli. Arzate took the rebound and put the ball in the back of the net for a 2-0 Gaucho lead.
The game went to 3-0 when Deering put the ball away after it ricocheted off Albertalli’s hands.
“[Albertalli] was clearly grabbed when he dropped the ball on the third goal,” Cal Poly Head Coach Wolfgang Gartner said. “It was a foul; you can’t hold the goalie by the shirt. It should have been disallowed.”
Despite the three goals, Albertalli held his own throughout most of the match, posting six saves on 15 Gaucho shots.
“We had a couple of freshmen starting for the first time on defense; I think they did a good job,” Gartner said. “But we wanted the shutout. It was a rather physical match. They used their physical [prowess] to take control.”
The game was physical throughout, and with each missed scoring opportunity for both teams the frustration seemed to mount.
“That’s the way Cal Poly plays,” senior forward Rob Friend said. “They can’t play with us, so they try and take us away from our game.”
The game marked the first time all year that Friend has not scored a goal in a Santa Barbara victory. Friend scored in the last 15 Gaucho wins dating back to last season.
UCSB sophomore goalkeeper Danny Kennedy posted his fifth shutout of the season for the Gauchos. Santa Barbara’s defense dominated throughout the night, but had to rely on a couple of solid saves by Kennedy to keep the shutout intact.
“I thought [our defense] kept it clear,” Kennedy said. “I expect to get a save no matter what team we play.”
The win was the second in eight days against the Mustangs after the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly 3-1 last Friday on the road. UCSB remains in first place in the Big West with the win, improving to 13-2-1 overall and 5-0-1 in the Big West. The Mustangs continued to struggle, falling to 3-12-0 overall and 1-5-0 in the Big West.
“There’s no love lost between Cal Poly and Santa Barbara,” Gartner said. “I remember two years ago when we clobbered them and the coach was crying; it was ridiculous. There will be ups and downs in soccer. I don’t think they will be ready when the times go down.”