Oct. 6, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - Box Score
Junior Chris Pontius scored the game-winner in the 78th minute to lift No. 12-ranked UC Santa Barbara to 1-0 Big West Conference victory over visiting Cal State Fullerton Saturday night at Harder Stadium.
With the victory, UCSB has now won three straight to open conference play and six of its last eight matches overall. The Gauchos, who stand at 6-2-2 overall and 3-0-0 in the Big West, have outscored league opponents 9-0 through three games in 2007. With the loss, Fullerton falls to 4-5-1 (0-2-1).
While the Titans were able to cool off an offense that entered Saturday's match on the heels of back-to-back 4-0 victories, Santa Barbara's recent hero came up with the game's only goal late in the match and UCSB's defense took care of the rest. Pontius has now scored a goal in the Gauchos' last four matches and leads the squad with eight through 10 games.
After several missed opportunities for the Gauchos, the game-winner finally came at the 77:13 mark. Junior midfielder Alfonso Motagalvan collected a ball that had been cleared on the left side and dribbled towards the end line. With his left foot, Motagalvan centered to the left post, where Pontius leapt and placed a header past Fullerton keeper Brent Douglas inside the far post to put Santa Barbara on top for good. Douglas was playing his first match since suffering facial fractures against Michigan on Sept. 9.
Cal State Fullerton's only quality opportunity of the first half came on a service into the box from defender Shay Spitz, but midfielder Andres Jarquin's header ricocheted off the cross bar and was cleared out.
The Gauchos came out of the locker room attacking and had an excellent chance to take the lead in the 53rd minute. After a Titan center back fell down, junior midfielder Eric Avila charged the loose ball in front of the box, but Douglas made a terrific diving save. Nuñez had a second chance when the rebound bounced out to the left side, but he too came up dry, rocketing a shot off the cross bar.
UCSB freshman goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner, who finished with three saves, and the Santa Barbara defense have now played over 322 minutes without allowing a goal, spanning their last four contests. The Gauchos have not given up a goal since Harvard took a 1-0 lead in the 58th minute September 23.
Douglas also finished with three saves for the Titans.
UCSB held a 17-10 shot advantage for the match and out-shot the visitors 10-4 in the decisive second half. Saturday night's contest featured 30 fouls and four cautions, with each side being whistled for two yellow cards apiece.