UC Santa Barbera 2, San Diego St. 0

Nov. 19, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. Senior forward Ivan Becerra snapped a scoreless tie with a goal in the 58th minute and senior forward Jonathan Davis added an insurance marker in the 79th minute as 21st-ranked UC Santa Barbara blanked visiting San Diego State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday..

The Gauchos and Aztecs battled through a physical first half that ended scoreless. SDSU goalkeeper Tally Hall, who finished the match with four saves overall, made two stellar saves in the first half to keep UCSB in check. Hall stopped point-blank shots by Davis and junior midfielder Eric Frimpong in the final 20 minutes of a first half that was dominated by Santa Barbara.

The second half started much the same as the first half had ended with UCSB in the San Diego end of the field and at tthe 57:08 mark, the Gauchos finally broke through.

Sophomore midfielder Tyler Rosenlund carried the ball into the box near the right side. Rosenlund found fellow-sophomore Andrew Proctor just above the center of the box. Hall came well of his line to cut the angle, but Proctor found Becerra streaking down the left-hand side of the box. Becerra dribbled the ball behind an off-balanced Hall and slid one inside the far post.

UCSB made it 2-0 at 78:28. Rosenlund was near the center of the field at the top of the box. He slid a pass to Davis who was outside the upper right side. Davis dribbled the ball into the box and towards the end line and from an impossible angle, he sent a missile over Hall and into the upper right portion of the goal.

SDSU never challenged after that and UCSB goalkeeper Kyle Reynish needed just three saves to record his ninth shutout of the season, the third most in Gaucho history.

In the final minutes the match got particularly physical and seven cards were handed out. The Aztecs, in fact, received a pair of red cards in the second half, hampering their chances to muster a comeback.

UCSB has now won an NCAA playoff match in four straight seasons. The Gauchos, who were NCAA finalists in 2004, will travel to Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, Nov. 22, for a 1:00 p.m. second round NCAA match. The game will pit a pair of Big West powers and rivals.

The victory improves Santa Barbara's record to 12-4-3 overall. San Diego State completes its season with a record of 9-4-3. This marked the Aztecs' first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1989.


UCSB Vom Steeg opening statement:

³I thought that we played a great game against Irvine leading into the playoffs and I was very encouraged by that game. All season long we¹ve just been missing by a little bit. At the offensive end we¹ve been good but not at the defensive end, then we get a lot of missed opportunities going the other way, so things really came together for us as we finished the year and I looked at the way we played against Irvine, it was a very dominant performance, and people that saw the game said it was the best they¹ve seen us play all year, and I said, ³well it doesn¹t matter, we¹re here now.² I thought we followed that up with a very dominant performance today.²

³We knew going in that their goalkeeper was very good and would be tough to score on, but I think when we play our best, our best is to run up and down the field, especially at home where we love the crowd, and we just know that as the game keeps going on, we¹re going to keep getting chances. We don¹t get discouraged, we don¹t get down, because someone¹s going to find something eventually as long as we stay solid in the back and keep moving the ball around. I¹m very proud of the way we stayed with our game plan 9 again, they¹re not an easy team to break down 9 and I thought we created some very good chances and as usual their goalkeeper played well.²

³What we had talked about at halftime was the fact that Tally definitely plays out front, in fact I think he held to the line a bit more today than I thought he would. On the one [Jonathan Davis} hit off his chest I thought he¹d be coming out a bit but it seemed like he was holding a bit. I don¹t know whether it was because it was a playoff game, but I just thought that if we could slip some balls through their back four, we might get some chances.²

³I started the second half with Proctor inside and try to get that ball through, and as the half went on, we went back with Ivan back inside, so it was definitely something we were looking for. On the goal, well, the goalkeeper¹s very big, and any time you get a big keeper when he¹s out that far, you need to get by him.²

Ivan Becerra on his game-winning goal- ³Well I knew he was going to come out hard on me so I just tried to push it by him. And as soon as I did that, I just had to get the shot off. It would have been hard for me to take a shot with him in front of me, but luckily I just got by him, and there was the open goal.²

Vom Steeg on crowd: ³I think there¹s two things. One, obviously the crowd is amazing 9 it¹s the best crowd in college soccer. Grant, who played in the national championship, I turned to him before the game, obviously it was his first playoff game here at UCSB, and I said Rhow¹s North Carolina compared to this?¹ and he said, Rwell we have people, but nothing like this.¹ It¹s a very knowledgeable crowd, they know our players, they know when someone gets the ball that something might happen and they¹re in on every tackle and every time Andy [Iro] goes up for a head ball they¹re cheering but I think it¹s also the energy we feed off each other, and the crowd, which allows us to play at kind of a different speed and level, but we say over and over again, when we get a playoff game here, I think we¹re 5-0 here at home now in the playoffs, it¹s the crowd that gets you going, but it¹s all the hard work that we¹ve put in over the last eight months that makes us win a game like this. What you saw on the field today, we were a little short on numbers, we just ran 13, 14 guys today, but I thought we were running as hard in the 90th minute as we were in the first. And that¹s a testament to these guys willingness and ability to come in and do the work in the offseason.²

Tyler Rosenlund ³I think the crowd¹s real good getting us going before the game, looking at their faces before the game they haven¹t been in a playoff game in like 15 years and I¹m pretty sure they don¹t have crowds like that at home, so I think they were scared, you could tell in their eyes, they didn¹t want to touch the ball, they were just kicking it. We¹ve been having 1500, 2000 people a game here so we¹re used to it. We went to the playoffs last year with all these fans, so its easy for us but they were definitely scared.²

Vom Steeg on his 100th victory: ³I think it was like three or four games ago 9 my problem with things like 100 wins or 50 wins or 75 is you always hear the stories of people getting stuck on 99 or whatever, so I was thinking I really want to get that 100 thing done this year and kind of move one. It¹s exciting 9 I think you think less about 100 wins 9 it¹s just Rlet¹s get ourselves in the playoffs and play well.¹ The wins always follow from that, but to get the 100th win in a playoff game is definitely a big thrill for me.²

Vom Steeg on playoff experience: ³I absolutely thought it was a factor today. I¹ll tell ya, we spent a lot of time on this: the only person whodidn¹t go through something like this last year or the year before was Pontius and Avila, and Avi doesn¹t count for me because he¹s certainly played in a lot of big games in strange places, so with Avi, you¹re good to go there 9 although I thought he started off a little slow today with his first two passes. We spent a lot of time the last week talking to Pontius and I told all the guys to make sure they were encouraging him on everything he did. Sure enough, today on his first run they were saying Rnice tackle¹ and we got him up to speed. I really wasn¹t worried about everybody else.

The other thing that was really impressive was Andy Iro¹s play was dominant today. All the guys were good, but knowing that they were going to try and get the ball to #8 [Keith Creager], he really locked him down. When your players step up and play really well like that and dominate and win balls, I mean his presence was huge in the game, I think that settles you down as well.

Chris Hughes on the defense of UCSB: ³Andy¹s the key to our defense. If he wins everything in the air, which he has the last two games, then that sets the tone for us and so it makes it a lot easier on me and Jeff Murphy. It helps us get balls to Tyler and Nate so they can get going up the field, but Andy definitely sets the tone for us. ³

Hughes on Northridge: ³I guess we¹ll be hoping that the third time¹s the charm. We know what they¹ll be bringing and they probably have an idea of what we¹ll be coming with so hopefully our hard work will pay off and I guess we¹ll see Tuesday.²

Vom Steeg on Northridge: ³Well, we¹ve never won there, so I would call it tough. I have to tell ya, we have a love/hate relationship with Northridge, we¹ve battled every single year for five years and there¹s a lot of respect that goes back and forth and that¹s what makes it a good rivalry. All I know is you¹re going to want to get a ticket for that game. I know they say it holds 1500, maybe they¹re bringing bleachers into those trees or something, but it¹s going to be as good as it gets on Tuesday in terms of the college game, especially when you have two teams that know exactly what the other team is doing. The reason I¹m excited is that we¹re actually playing well going into that game 9 I don¹t know if I could have said that the past two games. So to me, if it¹s Northridge or anybody else, the difference is we¹re playing well²

SDSU Lev Kirschner: You talked yesterday about not being over awed by the crowd. Do you think this affected your team? They talk about the fine line between what¹s fair and then what¹s sort of going over the edge. I don¹t think the crowd had anything to do with the results today. I think there was a fantastic atmosphere here. Whether or not it was over the edge today I can¹t really tell. I can just tell there was a great energy and there was great unity in this crowd and it¹s just a fantastic environment to be in for any team. Unfortunately they¹re not rooting for us, so I think that¹s difficult. All the power to Santa Barbara and their fans, there¹s no doubt about that. That¹s what soccer in this country should be like. So with that said, we got caught up in the moment. It had nothing to do with distractions from the crowd or the other team. We lost out control. We talked about it all week that this would be imperative for us. Taking two red cards is an exact example of us getting emotionally involved and not reacting the way we wanted to. And that comes down to experience and when you are playing the national runner up you can see the difference in the experience levels out there. It has been sixteen(?) years since we¹ve been in this tournament and it has been a great experience for us to come back

Heath Creager Regarding the crowd: Not really. As a DI athlete you¹ve got to look at it as you¹ve got to expect that when you are playing away from home. We go out there and we expect to get heckled and we expect people to say stuff about us. They see out names in the media guide and they know who we are and are testing us out, but that¹s what it¹s all about. That¹s half the fun. You can go out there and score a goal and give it right back to them. It¹s all part of the game.

Matt Couch Regarding their offense: We had a strong team all year and we know we can hold it up down the back and we do all we can to stop them. I mean, we can¹t expect to win a game 0-0 because that just won¹t happen. At some point you have to score a goal and whoever does it first usually has an advantage. We wanted to score one early in the game, but it just wasn¹t going to happen, so we just kept on fighting. Even when they had us 1-0, we still tried to maintain as many chances as we could. It just didn¹t happen for us today.

Lev Kirschner regarding injuries: It was very difficult for us to get through the first ten minutes of the match when the spine of our`should be creating injuries whether it was a subflexer or something with Couch and we had a deep thigh bruise and Keith has been mangled for the last three weeks, up to eight weeks depending on how serious you want to talk about what percentage he¹s at and that had a big effect on what we were trying to accomplish`is a tremendous soccer player, one of those unsung heroes that everyone rallies around and that kid has barely been subbed this year. I can actually only think of one moment this year when he hasn¹t been on the park (?) and we had to play sixty minutes today with out him and with ` beat and others, they¹ve just been warriors and I can¹t be more proud of them.

-- Courtesy UCSB