Nov. 10, 2007
Fullerton, Calif. - Alfonso Motagalvan scored off a corner kick with a little more than 10 minutes to play to cap a dramatic rally by UC Santa Barbara which beat Cal State Fullerton, 2-1, Saturday night in Big West Conference men's soccer action. The win clinched at least a tie for the Big West title and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth for the Gauchos, who won their fifth match in a row to improve to 11-3-3 overall and 8-1-1 in the Big West.
Fullerton, which took a 1-0 lead in the 65th minute on a goal by Shay Spitz, fell to 7-9-2 and 2-6-2 despite having a man advantage for the final 16 minutes. It was Fullerton's ninth loss in a row to the Gauchos, the last four coming by a single goal.
UCSB's Greg Curry received a red card at 73:47 when he pulled down the Titans' Gabriel Farfan from behind on a breakaway. The Gauchos tied the score less than a minute later (74:42) when a ball deflected to David Walker at the corner of the box and he looped it over the head of Fullerton goalkeeper Brent Douglas.
Motagalvan was positioned at the near post and redirected Ciaran O'Brien's low line drive kick past Douglas. UCSB has come back from a 1-0 deficit in each of its last three wins.
The Titans had the upper hand for much of the game. UCSB didn't log a shot for the first 20 minutes.and was outshot in the first half, 10-4.
Spitz' goal came on a feed from German Moreno, whose shot had been saved by a UCSB defender. He ran down the rebound and fed Spitz in the goal mouth.
Each team had a couple of close calls in the first 60 minutes. UCSB's Chris Pontius' header and Douglas and a Titan defender all came together at the near post in the second minute of the second half. UCSB goalkeeper Bryant Rueckner made two tough saves -- going high to stop a Skyler Thuresson shot late in the first half and then deflecting a crisp free kick from Amir Shafii 10 minutes into the second half.
Rueckner finished with 6 saves and Douglas had 4.
Fullerton concludes its season next week with a home match on Friday night vs. UC Davis and a road match at Cal Poly on Sunday. UCSB is at Cal State Northridge on Wednesday and hosts UC Riverside on Saturday night.