Oct. 25, 2008
Fullerton, Calif. - Nick Perera's goal in the 74th minute broke a 1-1 tie and lifted UC Santa Barbara to a 2-1 Big West Conference men's soccer victory Saturday night at Cal State Fullerton.
The No. 16-ranked Gauchos improved to 9-4-2 and 4-1-1 with their third win in a row. Fullerton fell to 4-12-1 and 1-5-1 with its tenth consecutive loss to UCSB, the eighth by one goal and the fifth in a row.
Perera found a loose ball in the goal mouth after Jonathan Zerah fired a crisp cross after a rush down the right side. Perera easily beat Fullerton goalkeeper Trevor Whiddon for his second game-winning goal and fifth overall of the season.
Fullerton's goal came from Michael Denny in the 37th minute to tie the match. He worked a give and go with Jose Gomez and booted a knuckleball from about 25 yards straight out to beat UCSB keeper Kristopher Minton.
UCSB took a 1-0 lead only 2:20 into the match. Chris Pontius got a step on his defender and Danny Barrera hit him in stride with a pass to set up a goal from about 20 yards out straightaway.
"It was a very disappointing loss, especially when you see that the second goal comes directly from a push from behind that wasn't called," said CSF Head Coach Bob Ammann. "It seems as if these crucial decisions seem to always be in favor of our opponents.
"Apart from the early goal, I thought we were the aggressors tonight and defensively held their offense in check. After we tied it up in the first half they seemed to bunker in and that is a credit to us.
"We have been improving but, unfortunately, haven't been on the right side of any breaks. UCSB has to feel a bit fortunate to walk away with a result tonight."
Pontius was denied twice in the second half by aggressive plays by the freshman Whiddon. After a deflection, Whiddon came about 30 yards out of the goal to beat Pontius to a free ball near midfield with about 23 minutes to play. Whiddon again won a one-on-one battle with Pontius with 8:15 to play, this time getting away with a sliding stop that upended Pontius in the penalty box.
Fullerton's best shot at a second goal came 12 minutes into the second half. Denny fired a free kick from 37 yards out that hit the crossbar and Minton was able to make a sprawling save of a header off the rebound.
UCSB was whistled for 18 fouls to only 11 for Fullerton but the Titans drew four yellow cards to two for the visitors.
Fullerton has only one match next week, at UC Irvine on Wednesday. UCSB visits Cal State Northridge and hosts UCI.