UC Santa Barbara 4, Virginia Commonwealth 1

Â

Â

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. ­ UC Santa Barbara scored three second half goals to break open a close contest and defeat visiting Virginia Commonwealth in an NCAA Men"s Soccer Championship Quarterfinal match in front of 11,214 at UCSB"s Harder Stadium on Saturday night. The victory propels the Gauchos to their first College Cup ever.

Each team scored a goal in the first half. Virginia Commonwealth (12-6-3) got on the board first at the 3:49 mark when midfielder Shane Dubay struck a long pass to forward Dominic Oduro. As Oduro chased the ball, UCSB defender Andy Iro tried to keep-up by backpedaling, but he lost his footing and Oduro got to the ball and chipped it over Gaucho goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.

"If you"re going to give up a goal, you want it to happen in the first few minutes of the game because all that means is, ok, the games on, now," said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. "I actually prefer giving up a goal in the first five minutes than dragging a game on zero-zero for most of the half."

Fittingly, it was Iro who scored the equalizer when he drove one home from about five yards out off of a corner kick from fellow defender Tony Lochhead at 29:49.

The teams took a 1-1 deadlock into halftime and the score remained tied until the 62:50 mark when Gaucho forward Drew McAthy drove down the right side just outside the penalty box, pulled-up and struck a cross to midfielder Bryan Byrne. Byrne chested the ball to his feet and one-timed it past VCU goalkeeper Saul Montero.

"I knew where the keeper was and he actually came out pretty quick," said Byrne of his tie-breaking goal. "I knew what I had to do, just pay attention and put it in. It was a nice cross from Drew, and I think it was J.D. (Jonathan Davis) in front of me and he took the defender away, so I was free in the back corner."

Santa Barbara made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute, when McAthy, who was tucked back in the midfield, turned on his defender and lofted a pass from 40-yards out, deep into the right corner for freshman forward Andrew Proctor. Proctor ran down McAthy"s through-ball and continued to carry it wide, pulling Montero off his line. Nearing the touch-line, Proctor chipped a shot from an almost impossible angle, over the keeper and a VCU defender and just inside the far-post.

The UCSB scoring, which began with Iro, ended with the freshman defender. At 84:14, Iro headed-in a corner kick from Lochhead to make it 4-1 closing-out the scoring and sending the 11,214 fans into a frenzy.

"That was unbelievable. This crowd was tremendous," said Vom Steeg. "The community came out more than expected, actually and as usual they were vocal, they got us going."

--Courtesy UCSB