Goals were as rare as raindrops for the men’s soccer team Thursday night at Harden Stadium, as the day’s darkened clouds had long since drifted away by game time.
The Gauchos shut out visiting Davis (5-8-2) by a score of 1-0 in double overtime, grabbing their 14th win of the season. The victory came with only four minutes left in the final period of overtime play, thanks to the game-winning shot by senior forward Neil Jones.
Jones received a pass from freshman midfielder Tyler Rosenlund just inside the box before sending a bullet by the diving Aggie goalkeeper.
“Their goalkeeper came up with some big plays,” Jones said. “When I scored, there was no one [in my way] so I just shot.”
Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg was pleased with the performance of his team in the game, despite its close proximity.
“I thought we were patient on the field and I’m pleased with the result,” Vom Steeg said. “I thought it was a growing-up stage for us.”
The ironic absence of junior forward Jonathan Davis, who was out with a hamstring injury, gave the Gauchos less of a scoring threat and was one of the reasons the first 100 minutes of the game were scoreless.
The other reason was the stellar Aggie defense throughout the game, largely due to the height and hops of sophomore goalkeeper Charles Warne. Warne had four saves in regulation before giving up the game-ending score in double overtime.
“[Warne] was very good in the air. He made some great saves and was definitely on his game, but almost all of the balls were in his range,” Vom Steeg said.
Throughout the game, the Aggie defenders kept Santa Barbara from getting any clear shots on the goal, despite the Gauchos refusal to give up trying.
“We knew they were going to sit [tight] and play pretty good defense,” junior midfielder Nate Boyden said. “We did what I like to call ‘pounding the rock’. Eventually [the goal] was going to come.”
Despite only scoring one goal against Davis, Santa Barbara secured its third shutout in a row and the ninth of the season for senior goalkeeper Danny Kennedy.
Kennedy did not receive many balls his way until late in the second half of regulation, as the first shot by the Aggies on goal was made after 76 minutes had already passed.
The Gauchos (14-2-1) will look to capture their fourth straight shutout Saturday as they face off against Stanford (7-4-5) at home.