The road woes continued for the UCSB men’s soccer team yesterday as it was shutout for the second time in three games in a 4-0 loss to Loyola Marymount.
With the non-conference loss, the Gauchos are now 6-5-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the Big West. The Lions, who played their final game before kicking off conference play this Friday, improved to 6-3-3 overall.
“First half we came out well. We were good and confident, and one mistake kind of hurt us for the rest of the game,” sophomore left back Drew Murphy said. “Our heads kind of went down and from there we never got back in the game.”
Midfielder Sebastian De Rada scored the opening goal for LMU in the tenth minute. After making a run through the midfield, the senior slipped through the Gauchos’ defense before firing a left-footed shot back across his body. The shot took a deflection off of a UCSB defender and beat freshman goalkeeper Brandon Berke, putting the Lions up 1-0.
The Gauchos, whose starting lineup was extremely hampered by injuries and suspensions, struggled to get back in the game despite outshooting LMU 9-5 in the first half.
“We were down five starters, so we were there with half our team,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “With that being said, we still made three or four mistakes because we just had players in the wrong position, and three or four mistakes later you’re down three goals.”
UCSB’s defense, which was already hurting due to red card suspensions for freshman Jeff Quezada and junior Dylan Murphy, was further decimated with injuries to both starting fullbacks in senior Kevin Garcia-Lopez and Drew Murphy. Garcia-Lopez will be out for about two weeks due to injury, while sophomore forward Nick DePuy picked up his fifth yellow card and will miss the Gauchos’ next game. Sophomore defender and captain Paul Ehmann did not play after officially leaving the team this past week.
“Garcia-Lopez and Paul are two big losses in terms of players that were unavailable to us,” Vom Steeg said. “Murphy was at 50 percent but he should be better for Saturday. He was all banged up in the game, but he did the best he could.”
LMU’s redshirt senior Craig Nitti took over in the second half as the Lions continued to take advantage of the Gauchos’ weakened back line. Nitti bended a free kick from 25 yards out around the wall in the 62nd minute, placing it just under the crossbar to give his team a 2-0 lead. Just six minutes later, the Lions’ co-captain picked up a brace on a penalty kick after sophomore midfielder Adrien Perez was taken down in the box on a breakaway. Perez eventually capped off the night with a 75th minute header to put his team up 4-0.
“We just didn’t have enough players and we ran out of defenders,” Vom Steeg said. “In order to win college games you have to have your whole team there, and we didn’t do enough from a defensive standpoint to win a game like that.”
Santa Barbara ended the night outshooting LMU 12-11, but the goalkeeping duo of Berke and sophomore Josh McNeely just couldn’t stop a very hot Lions offense. However, the Gauchos are not dwelling on the loss, instead focusing on looking forward to their next conference match.
“The result itself didn’t feel good, but we’re still thinking more about Saturday and getting our players back,” Vom Steeg said.
On Saturday, the Gauchos will end their current four-game stretch of road games when they play at UC Davis.