SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Freshman standout Rodney Michael scored two goals, including the golden goal in the first overtime period, to lead the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Sacramento State in a pivotal Big West North Division matchup on Wednesday afternoon.
Entering the match separated by just one point in the standings, the Gauchos improved to 6-5-4 overall and 4-1-2 in the Big West to create some distance from the Hornets (7-7-1, 3-3-1). After fourth-place Cal Poly topped UC Davis 3-2 on the road, the Gauchos regained sole possession of first place with just three matches remaining.
UCSB took control early on and nearly converted the first goal of the game in the third minute, but Michael's header missed just high.
Continuing their offensive pressure in the 20th minute, Omar Montalvo crossed the ball into a crowd of players in the box, and the Gauchos were awarded a penalty kick after a Sacramento State hand ball. In the first penalty kick of the season, Michael stepped up and poked his shot into the right side of the goal as the keeper dove the other way.
Despite UCSB dominating possession early on, the Hornets were able to find the equalizer on a counter attack just six minutes later. After a cross was headed away by the UCSB defense, the ball fell to the foot of Dominic Scotti all alone at the top of the box. Scotti fired from 18 yards out through a crowd of players, and the ball ricocheted into the corner of the goal.
UCSB had a few more close looks at a game-winner in regulation, including a near-miss from Ignacio Tellechea in the 67th minute, but the Gauchos would head to their fourth overtime in the last five matches, and sixth this season.
It would not take long as UCSB regained possession from the Hornets as Randy Mendoza played the ball up field to Tellechea, who tapped the ball ahead to a sprinting Michael. The speedy forward raced up the left side of the pitch all the way into the box and tapped a right-footed shot to the opposite corner of the goal for the game-winner in the 95th minute.
The two goals for Michael mark the first time this season that UCSB has had a multi-goal scorer in a match. The Gauchos outshot the Hornets 8-5 while Sacramento State held a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. Michael led the way with a game-high four shots. Alan Carrillo finished with two saves.
UCSB returns to Harder Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 21 for a key matchup against UC Davis at 7:00 p.m.
Season tickets and individual game tickets are available online here or call the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB (8272).