The sixth-ranked Gauchos of UC Santa Barbara proved they are one of the top teams in the country, scoring three times in each half and maintaining pressure at both ends of the field throughout the match in defeating Seattle University, 6-2, Sunday afternoon in men's soccer action at Championship Field.
UC Santa Barbara (5-0-1) jumped on the board in the 18th minute when Daniel Welsh set up Achille Campion from 10 yards out for Campion's fifth goal of the season. Just over two minutes later, Nic Ryan sent a free kick into the box, where Goffin Boyoko trapped the ball to settle it, and then blasted a shot past Seattle U goalie Jake Feener (Rocklin, Calif.) for his second tally of the year.
After Seattle U gained control of the ball for a period of time midway through the first half, the Gauchos took over possession in the final eight minutes of the half, earning five corner kicks during that span of time. With 35 seconds remaining before halftime, Dom Sarle sent a ball into the box, and Javier Castro beat the Redhawk defense and converted on his scoring chance to extend the Gauchos' lead to 3-0 at the break.
UC Santa Barbara continued to pressure the Seattle U backline in the second half, scoring two more goals in the span of 1:47. First, Sarle earned another assist, this time setting up Machael David at the near post for his first goal of the season. Then it was Sarle's turn to score, as he took a pass from Mathew Goldack and sent a shot from 15 yards out into the net to put UCSB ahead, 5-0.
In the 64th minute, Seattle U broke the shutout, as Miles Rodriguez-Nilsen (Bremerton, Wash.) chased down a Gaucho clearing attempt and sent the ball back into the box, where Hamza Haddadi (Shoreline, Wash.) was able to redirect it from close range into the back of the net for his first career collegiate goal. Meanwhile, Feener made two sensational saves to keep the Gauchos from causing further damage.
On a rush up the field in the 73rd minute, Enrique Bello (Caracas, Venezuela) was pulled down after entering the 18-yard box, creating a penalty kick situation. Bello was successful on the penalty kick for his first goal of the season, pulling the Redhawks to within three at 5-2. Both teams suffered a blow with just over 15 minutes remaining in the match, as Feener and Campion collided going after a UCSB pass, causing both players to leave the match with injuries.
With less than 12 minutes left in regulation, Charlie Miller stole the ball from the Seattle U defense and charged up the field to about 10 yards out, sending a shot past Redhawk backup goalie Shane Haworth (Puyallup, Wash.) for the Gauchos' sixth and final goal of the match. Haworth made two saves on shots by Ema Boateng in the final 10 minutes of the contest.
"They are a good team, and we learned a valuable lesson today. They compete for 90 minutes, they have individual talent, and they have collective abilities. It was a hard game for us," Seattle U head coach Peter Fewing said. "Having said that, there were times when we played well. I liked our first goal, and Enrique did a good job setting up the penalty kick, and then converting on it. But UCSB was better than us across the field."
UC Santa Barbara spread out its offense, as 13 different Gaucho players were credited with at least one shot in the match and no one had more than Sarle's three total shots. Miguel Gonzalez (Yelm, Wash.) led the Redhawks with four shots, including a couple of solid opportunities that came close to entering the net.
Austin Mansker earned the victory in net for UC Santa Barbara, making two saves along the way. Before leaving the match after almost 75 minutes, Feener was credited with six saves. UC Santa Barbara earned significant advantages in total shots (21-11) and corner kicks (12-3).
Seattle University (1-4) remains in Seattle for two matches next weekend as part of the Husky Classic. The Redhawks will host the University of Portland Pilots at Championship Field Friday, Sept. 21, starting at 4 p.m. Seattle U will then head across town to Husky Soccer Field to face the University of Washington next Sunday, Sept. 23, at 12 noon in a match to be televised on Pac-12 Network National.