The Utah Valley men’s soccer team fell 5-1 on the road to the University of California Santa Barbra Gauchos on Sunday, Sep. 11, in Santa Barbra, California. The Gauchos scored four first-half goals and a game-sealing goal in the second half to rout the Wolverines.
The Wolverines now drop to 2-2-1 on the season with a 1-2-1 record on the road. However, the Wolverines remain in third place in the Western Athletic Conference, just behind Grand Canyon University and Houston Baptist, respectively.
The Wolverines had 13 shots (with five from Diego Castillo and three from Mark Andros), five shots on goal (three from Castillo and two from Andros), and one goal by Andros. Despite allowing five goals, UVU goalie Jason Smith still had an impressive five-save performance.
The Gauchos came into the first half aggressive as Henry Davies punched in goal number one for UCSB in the sixth minute. Less than a minute later, the Gauchos scored another goal to go up 2-0 early in the game.
Midfielder Diego Castillo tried to answer for the Wolverines in the 13th minute by firing a shot directly toward the bottom center of the goal, but Gauchos goalkeeper Leroy Zeller made the save. Castillo replicated the effort in the 17th minute, but Zeller made another save.
After more missed shots from the Wolverines, Gauchos forward Alexis Ledoux fired a shot toward the bottom right corner of the post, but UVU goalkeeper Jason Smith was able to make the save. However, almost immediately after, fellow Gauchos forward Finn Ballard McBride scored the third goal of the half for UCSB in the 22nd minute to put UCSB up 3-0.
Fouls plagued the Wolverines in the ensuing 16 minutes, highlighted by Nate Mefford picking up a red card and getting ejected and Castillo picking up his second yellow card of the game.
The Gauchos proceeded to take two more shots that were missed and saved, respectively. However, defender Rigoberto Barragan drilled in yet another goal for the Gauchos in the 40th to give them the 4-0 edge.
The second half was off to a quick start, as Castillo took the first shot of the half, just missing high. After another save on defense for Smith, Castillo took the ball downfield and fired again, aiming for the bottom right corner of the goal, but Zeller made the save for the Gauchos.
After two missed shots prior, Wolverine midfielder Mark Andros connected on his third try to put the Wolverines on the board in the 56th minute, cutting the deficit 4-1. Andros had another great look in the 58th minute, but the attempt was saved by Zeller.
The following 19 minutes were again filled with penalties and fouls for both teams, but Smith picked up two more saves for the Wolverines.
Despite the hard effort from the Wolverines in the second half, the Gauchos iced the game in the 77th minute with goal number five by Phillip Nemo. Aidan Dayton and Loed Klaasen tried to answer for the Wolverines in the final minutes but respectively missed their attempts. The game ended with a final score of 5-1.
In their next match, the Wolverines will travel north to Santa Clara, California to take on the University of Santa Clara Broncos on Friday, Sep. 16. The match kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT and can be streamed on the West Coast Conference Network.
Sophomore at UVU. Writer for the UVU review, statistician for UVU ESPN+, and play-by-play commentator for UVU Men’s Lacrosse.