The UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team defeated the Sacramento State Hornets 2-0, changing the streak of two ties previous to the victory.
Junior forward Finn Ballard McBride made history with his brace, cracking the top 10 of all-time goal scorers in UCSB history.
The scoring kicked off in the 30th minute when the pairing of redshirt sophomore midfielder Lucas Gonzalez and Ballard McBride combined for Gonzalez’s third assist to Ballard McBride this season.
Ballard McBride made a deep run into the box and was found by Gonzalez, where he was able to easily tuck it past the Hornets’ goalkeeper, sophomore Mac Learned.
This game marked the second year in a row the Hornets were shut out by the Gauchos; during the 2021 season the score was 3-0.
The Gauchos’ first half featured many attacking runs and shots as they were able to gain 5 corner kicks.
The stat sheet featured a dominant game; although the Gauchos won by more in 2021, the stat line showed a closely contested game. In this year’s matchup, UCSB dominated from beginning to end, getting 5 shots on goal while the Hornets managed just 2 shots.
Junior goalkeeper Leroy Zeller had a quiet game in between the goalposts, as one of the shots on goal was saved, ending the first half. The second shot on goal was quite impressive, as Zeller extended his right leg to keep out the attempt from the Hornets.
In the second half, it was much the same for the Gauchos as they were able to nab a second goal behind the foot of Ballard McBride once again.
This was a goal of skill from Ballard McBride, as senior midfielder Sam Fletcher spotted the forward in the center of the defense where he sent a long through ball. Ballard McBride calmly bounced the ball off his chest and perfectly placed the ball in the back of the opponents’ net.
With the 2-goal advantage in hand, the Gauchos did not look back, posting their fifth consecutive shutout. After not scoring in their previous two matches, the Gauchos leaned behind their leading goalscorer of their 2021 season to carry the load.
The Gauchos will go on to face UC Davis before their highly anticipated matchup against rival Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in a battle between the Gauchos at the top of the Big West table and the Mustangs in the middle of the Big West pack.
By the numbers:
The Gauchos lead the conference in goals allowed with 11 on the season behind a spectacular back line of Gaucho defenders.
Although the Gauchos have had trouble scoring as of late, they still rank second in the conference with 26 goals in conference play.
Ballard McBride is still leading the way for the Gauchos and the Big West, being tied for first in conference goals with 8 in the overall season.
Gonzalez ranks tied for fourth in assists in the Big West despite having played fewer games than the players ranking above him.
Zeller is second in the conference in saves, putting together a .804 save percentage across his 14 games played.
A version of this article appeared on p. 7 of the October 20, 2022 print edition of the Daily Nexus.