The UCSB men’s soccer team kept two streaks alive with its 2-0 win over Sacramento State in the Big West Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday night at Harder Stadium.
It marked the ninth straight game in which the No. 19 Gauchos haven’t lost, and it extended the Hornets’ futility at Harder Stadium, where they haven’t won since 1992.
After having a goal disallowed for an offside call that looked to be an incorrect call in the first half, UCSB got to work over the final 45 minutes. Freshman midfielder Finn Ballard McBride scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season off an assist by Rodney Michael in the 53rd minute, and Michael put the finishing touches on the Gauchos’ win with his third goal of the season in the 88th.
UCSB also got the save of the match from sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach in the 66th minute.
When the Gauchos (8-2-2, 1-0 Big West) failed to clear the ball from their 18-yard box, it allowed Sac State midfielder Matt Carnefix to have a point-blank shot from 14 yards on the left. Carnefix hit a rocket, but Roach deflected it over the crossbar to preserve UCSB’s 1-0 lead.
“We talked about the fact that in every single shutout, every single game, you’re going to need your goalkeeper to make one save,” said Gaucho coach Tim Vom Steeg, whose team has seven wins and two draws in its last nine games. “(Ben) was not very busy in the first half. He didn’t have a save in the first half.
“But he was ready at the one moment we needed him. Again, that was a ball we were concerned about. It got played across and inside the 6-yard box and the next thing you know, we don’t clear it. All of a sudden, (Carnefix) rips a ball, and Ben was ready for it.”
UCSB appeared to take a 1-0 lead midway through the first half when Ballard McBride, a native of Australia, slipped a through ball to Australian forward Will Baynham, who was making a run through the Hornets’ 18-yard box.
Upon video replays, it was clear that Baynham, who ripped a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal, was onside. But the side official raised his flag to indicate offside, which nullified the goal and kept the match scoreless. Vom Steeg was asked about the play after the Gauchos’ latest win.
“At halftime we took a quick look (at the replays), and it looked pretty obvious that Will was onside,” he said. “That’s why winning conference games, or any game, is a challenge, because you have to overcome a lot of obstacles, and sometimes it might be a referee on a night.
“I’m glad that didn’t end up being the determining factor in the game tonight, because that would have been disappointing.”