For the 11th time in its last 12 games, the UCSB men’s soccer team shut out its opponent Wednesday night. That foe was Cal State Northridge, as the Gauchos bested the Matadors 1-0 in the Big West Tournament semifinals at Harder Stadium.

It has been 585 minutes since anyone scored on UCSB — the last goal allowed being a 78th minute game-winner by the very same Matadors Santa Barbara defeated last night. In its last 1,128 minutes of play, UCSB has outscored its opponents 17-1. No matter which way you spin the statistics, things are looking pretty good for the Gauchos after Wednesday’s win.

“We just kind of went out and did what we’ve been doing all season,” senior defender Martin Hedevag said.

Easy enough. The Gauchos hardly let Northridge anywhere near the goal all match, and despite six saves from junior goalkeeper Sam Hayden the back line was hardly ever challenged.

However, the defensive prowess UCSB displayed was going to waste early on, as the first half came and went without a single goal. The Gauchos controlled the tempo and possession but never notched solid shots in the first frame.

The second half was a different story. UCSB came out firing and thought it had broken through in the 61st minute. Danny Barrera rocketed a ball into the box that by virtue of several deflections found its way toward the frame. Freshman Matador keeper Michael Abalos got his hands on it but could only deflect it into the netting, as the Gauchos celebrated their first goal. However, the flying tortillas and raucous cheering were short-lived, as the assistant referee’s flag was waving high for offside.

Moments later, freshman forward Michael Nonni apparently saved a ball on the end line, snuck into the six-yard box and slid an off-angle shot onto the far post for the game’s first goal. Yet again, though, the linesman begged to differ, alleging that the ball crossed the end-line before Nonni saved it.

Finally, in the 72nd minute, the Gauchos broke through. Sophomore midfielder Danny Barrera’s corner kick was cleared out to fellow sophomore midfielder Luis Silva, who launched a volley on frame. Abalos made a solid play to save the initial effort, but junior defender Michael Boxall headed in the rebound to put UCSB up 1-0. The goal was the stalwart defender’s first of his Gaucho career.

Northridge would pressure from there, firing shot after shot at the SB net from long range, but nothing challenged Hayden to any real degree. When time eventually expired, Hayden walked away with his 14th shutout of the year, breaking Danny Kennedy’s all time UCSB record for clean sheets in a season.

Next up for the Gauchos is UC Irvine — victors of a double overtime thriller with Cal Poly in the other semifinal. The Anteaters will come to Harder Stadium on Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a rematch of last year’s conference final. Tickets are $5 for students but free for those attending the 3 p.m. men’s basketball game versus Cal State Los Angeles.