MORAGA, Calif. – Going up against the top-ranked offensive team in the nation, the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team nearly escaped with a scoreless draw at No. 17 Saint Mary's, but the Gaels stunned the Gauchos with a golden goal in the 107th minute to snare its eighth straight victory on Wednesday evening.
One of just three undefeated teams remaining in the nation, Saint Mary's improved to 8-0-0 with the win while UCSB fell to 4-3-0 despite a valiant defensive battle.
Entering Wednesday night's matchup, the Gaels were averaging an NCAA best 3.57 goals per game, outscoring their opponents 25-4, but were held to a season-low one goal by the Gauchos.
In the first half, the teams split the possession in a back-and-forth battle that saw UCSB edge SMC 5-4 in shots.
Freshman Carter Clemmensen nearly found pay dirt in the 30th minute with a laser to the back-right corner, but the Gaels' keeper was able to track it down to prevent the score.
Saint Mary's ramped up its offensive pressure in the second half outshooting UCSB 12-2, including four shots on goal, but it was Gauchos' keeper Ben Roach who turned away shot after shot, finishing with a career-high nine saves.
No save was bigger than a colliding stop in the 96th minute to prevent SMC's Lucas Andrews from scoring on a breakaway.
The Gaels, however, kept up their offensive attack and broke through in the 107th minute as Jakub Svehlik snuck a shot past Roach for the golden goal.
Clemmensen and Noah Billingsley recorded the lone shots on goal in the match for UCSB while Billingsley led the team with four shots. Hunter Ashworth registered three while Clemmensen and Jan Illskens both added two. The Gauchos were outshot 20-12 on the night and edged 8-3 in corners.
UCSB returns home after two weeks away for a rivalry match against No. 23 UCLA this Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara hosts the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Soccer College Cup on Dec. 7 and 9 at Harder Stadium. College Cup ticket packages as well as UCSB season tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online or by calling the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office at 805-893-UCSB. Also, this Saturday, visit the College Cup table at Harder Stadium and receive free admission to the UCLA match with the purchase of an all session ticket!