LOS ANGELES – The UCSB men’s soccer team led the UCLA Bruins for the majority of the first half in their NCAA Tournament First Round matchup, but a late equalizer and overtime game-winner from the Bruins knocked the Gauchos out of the competition on Thursday night at Wallis-Annenberg Stadium.
UCLA won 2-1, and that ended the season for UCSB.
Freshman attacker Ramses Martinez scored after a flurry of chances from junior forward Thaabit Baartman in front of the UCLA goal led to a clearance that was headed back towards the top of the box by junior center back Henry Davies to Martinez, who dribbled to his right and buried a right-footed effort to put UCSB up in the 54th minute.
The Bruins tied things up in the 86th when Jose Contell was on the receiving end of a long throw-in from the right side of the field by Aaron Edwards that was flicked on by Pietro Grassi, allowing Contell to fire it into the back of the net and send the game into overtime.
With little to speak of for either team in the first overtime, the game came to an end in the next frame in the 103rd minute when Contell delivered a cross that skipped past several UCSB defenders across the goalmouth to the backpost, where a missed clearance led to Kevin Diaz pouncing on the loose ball, with it trickling it just past the goal line to send UCLA into its second round matchup at seventh-seeded Duke on Sunday.
UCSB sophomore goalkeeper Leroy Zeller made six saves, including a sensational triple-save in the 74th minute.
The Gauchos were outshot 18-10 overall and 8-5 on target, including 14-3 after Martinez’s goal.
Martinez’s goal was UCSB’s 44th of the season, good for ninth-most in a single season in program history, and just one short of the 45 goals scored in 2019.
“I told them afterwards… (I’m) nothing but extremely proud of the group,” UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “We have been battling, we have been competing, we’ve found players that have stepped up. I thought we did the things we wanted to do and we got the goal that we wanted.”
Arthur Wilkie works in media relations/communications at UCSB.