The UCSB club soccer team tamed the Cal Poly Mustangs last Friday, winning its game by a score of 3-0. After the Gauchos’ disappointing tie to UC Davis, junior forward Nick McEachin promised more aggressive play against the Mustangs, and UCSB lived up to his word. Santa Barbara (4-0-2) recorded their highest goal total of the season despite playing without starting senior forward Zach Smith, who was sidelined due to the controversial red card he received against Davis.
“We knew we would come out on top,” said McEachin. “It’s pretty much what we expected”.
McEachin led the SB offense and personally had several shots on goal, one of them finding the back of the net, tallying his second of the year. The Gauchos dominated the game, mounted several offensive attacks and had a clear advantage of ball possession. Senior forward Sasha Zaharoff scored the first Gaucho goal just seconds before halftime.
“It feels amazing [to score}”, said Zaharoff. “I stayed cool, calm and collected”.
When the second half commenced Cal Poly already looked defeated. The Gauchos kept penetrating the Mustang defense, and found the back of the net two more times. Midfielder Rolando Mota scored midway through the second half, and then McEachin put the game out of reach with his goal in the 81st minute. Mota and McEachin now lead the team in goals scored with two each. The Gauchos are now 1-0-1 in the California College Cup Soccer League, a league in which they are attempting to win an unprecedented seventh time in a row. Head Coach Randy Eskilson was extremely proud with the powerful victory.
“Its good to be back on the winning track”, Eskilson said. “A lot of players stepped up with all of our injuries, and the effort overall was what we needed.
The Gauchos had six players sidelined; five due to injury and Smith out due to a red card. Despite tough circumstances, the defense – anchored by junior Roman Stahl – still posted their fifth shutout of the year. The UCSB defense has still only given up one goal all season in large part to the excellent goal keeping of sophomore Chris Harris and junior Joel Katz.
Harris remained dormant for most of the game due to the combination of a weak Mustang attack and remarkable play by the Gaucho defense. However, he did make one impressive save to keep the shutout alive. Harris received the nod to start in goal after Katz was injured during the Davis game. Harris, now having made three starts, has yet to relinquish a goal.
The Gauchos will continue league play this weekend against formidable opponents San Diego State and University of San Diego. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. this Saturday at SDSU. Sunday the Gauchos will return home to play USD at Harder Stadium. Sunday’s game kicks off at noon.