MEN’S SOCCER BATTLES No. 17 UC SANTA BARBARA BUT FALLS 2-1
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – For the second consecutive match Sacramento State rallied from a 1-0 deficit to even the score in the second half and played a very competitive match, but again the Hornets saw their opponent regain the lead as No. 17 UC Santa Barbara got the game winner in the 75th minute and held on for a 2-1 win.
Sophomore Edwin Luna brought the Hornets even with the Gauchos off a perfectly placed free kick in the 53rd minute, tallying his second career goal as he snuck the set piece under the crossbar from 35 yards out. Sacramento State (2-9-3, 0-6-0 Big West) created several quality scoring chances in each half, with some particularly good looks in the first period, but UC Santa Barbara (11-4-0, 6-0-0 Big West) escaped with its seventh consecutive win to remain perfect in conference play.
The Hornets had a great chance to get on the board first in the 19th minute but junior Adan Martinez had a straight on shot denied by UC Santa Barbara goalkeeper Josh McNeely. The Gauchos would take the lead three minutes later as senior Goffin Boyoko finished some fine passing at the near post with a shot to upper 90.
The Gauchos nearly doubled their lead in the 33rd minute but Hornet senior goalkeeper Cesar Castillo stopped a point-blank header try and a second header on the rebound missed wide. Sacramento State created two more great scoring chances in the half, but senior Isaac Ikyurav was rebuffed from close range in the 35th minute and Martinez had a lob clear the Gaucho goalkeeper but get stopped by a defender in the 41st minute.
Sacramento State continued to put on the pressure early in the second half and found the equalizer after a foul was called on the Gauchos and Luna tucked a perfect ball off the bottom of the crossbar and into the UCSB goal in the 53rd minute. Luna had another try to give the visitors the lead in the 65th minute but was denied by McNeely.
UC Santa Barbara would find the game winner in the 75th minute off a Hornet turnover deep in their own end. Gaucho freshman Ismaila Jome had a steal at the top of the Hornet box and dribbled around a pair of defenders before firing a low shot to the far post to give the home team the lead.
Castillo made a couple of fine saves after the Gaucho goal to keep his team within striking distance, but the Hornets were unable to put another try on frame for the remainder of the second half.
The Gauchos had an 18-9 shot advantage for the match but had just an 8-6 edge in shots on goal. There were five total yellow cards issued in the match, with three going to the Hornets, and Sacramento State was whistled for a season-high 26 fouls.
Luna and Martinez each placed two shots on goal with junior Chimdum Mez leading the team with three total shots. Castillo was again superb in the Hornet goal while totaling six saves, recording his seventh match this season with six or more saves.
Sacramento State will play its first of two matches this season against Causeway rival UC Davis on Saturday. Kickoff in Davis is set for 3 p.m.