Coming off its biggest win of the season against No. 3 Akron, the UCSB men’s soccer team made an arguably even bigger statement on Saturday with a 2-1 overtime victory at Davis off junior forward Sam Garza’s golden goal.
With the victory, the No. 15 Gauchos improved to 8-3-1 and notched their first conference win of the season, improving their league record to 1-2, while Davis fell to 4-6-2 (2-2 Big West).
“Davis was way more important than Akron for us,” senior midfielder Luis Silva said. “We hadn’t won a game in conference and I think that was the biggest game for us. We got some pressure off our shoulders, and now I think we should win every game.”
UCSB started things off quickly against the Aggies when senior midfielder James Kiffe connected on a free kick in the 10th minute on an assist from Silva. Overall, UC Santa Barbara outshot Davis 21-12, six to four in shots on goal.
“We turned in a very good game on Wednesday and we played most of the game very well against Davis,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. Davis freshman forward Matt Wiesenfarth scored the equalizer in the 31st minute to tie the game entering the half, and a scoreless second half set up a second consecutive overtime thriller for the Gauchos.
“It sucks, you know, nobody wants to go to overtime,” Silva said. “We just need to work on finishing, because I thought we could have finished Davis in the first half.”
Garza’s third goal of the season came with 6:18 off the clock in overtime to give UCSB their second golden goal victory in a row.
“I can understand the Akron game going into overtime,” Vom Steeg said. “Akron is a very good team, but there is really no reason why we had to go into overtime with Davis. It was our fault not taking care of things and putting ourselves in that position.”
Junior goalkeeper André Grandt made three of four save opportunities for Santa Barbara in handing Davis the loss.
UC Santa Barbara stands two games back of first place Irvine in the Big West standings after the victory over Davis, and UC Irvine is next set to travel to Northridge.
“I think we can beat every team that’s in conference,” Vom Steeg said. “We can’t waste chances to score and put teams away. The key for us the rest of the season is going to be us being able to find a way to win games.”
UCSB returns home on Tuesday for a matchup against Fullerton.