UC Irvine wins Big West in thriller
Ibarra scores in double overtime to defeat UC Santa Barbara
IRVINE, Calif. -- UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara left everything on the field at Anteater Stadium on Saturday as the Anteaters won 3-2 in the 105th minute in double overtime.
Under the cover of damp conditions, the squads kicked off and traded possessions throughout the first half. Jimmy Turner crushed a shot early on that flew inches over the crossbar. David Opoku for the Gauchos had some fancy footwork going as he flicked a shot off his heel from five yards on goal, but Andrew Fontein was in position to make the save.
UCI finally got the scoring started with nifty run up the right wing. Christian Hernandez fed a ball to Christopher Santana who would dribble up the field and fire from the right side of the box and deflected off a Gaucho defender's back and inside the crossbar in the 39th minute.
The first half finished up with the Anteaters ahead 1-0.
The second half opened with more intensity from each side. Everett Pitts had a great opportunity off a header that was stopped.
UCSB began its climb back into the game in the 64th minute as Sam Garza was taken down in the box by 'Eater senior Bello Alhassan. Luis Silva would convert on the penalty kick, but Fontein gave a valiant effort guessing correct with the ball just slipping through him.
The Gauchos responded quickly to take the lead. After an official's conference, the Gauchos were awarded a free kick from just outside the box. Silva would fire it into the mass of players and Dom Sarle would get a foot on it and redirect the shot into the top left corner putting UCSB ahead 2-1 in the 68th minute.
Both sides continued the physical play as the rivalry really began to ramp up.
With under five minutes to play, Hernandez set up for a free kick. His shot from about 40 yards out went right on UCSB keeper Andre Grandt. He fumbled the ball as a UCI player slipped it into the goal. After an official ruling, it was determined that Grandt had possession when UCI kicked it in, thus disallowing the goal.
Play continued as UCI had the ball in its end again. Turner took the throw-in and tossed it into the box. The throw found Enrique Cardenas who would head the ball into the top right corner to tie it with two minutes left in the match.
The match would head to overtime as UCSB controlled the ball for most of the period. Sam Garza and Michael Chavez each blasted numerous shots high and wide. UCI had a golden opportunity as Hernandez found himself all alone, but missed just wide as the game would go into a second overtime.
UCI would end it one second into the 105th minute. Cameron Iwasa found daylight and put a shot on goal. It would bank off the post and right to a streaking Miguel Ibarra who would put in the game-winner.
The win gave the Anteaters its third Big West Tournament title in the last four years. The 16 wins are the most in a single season in UCI men's soccer history.
Fontein collected all 16 wins this which is an individual UCI keeper record. He finished with four saves
Santana scored his fourth goal of the season giving him 13 points. Cardenas scored his first goal and point at home this season. The goal was his first since Sept. 11 at Illinois-Chicago upping his goal total to six and point total to 14. Ibarra's game-winner gives him four on the season, tying Hernandez for the team lead, and overtaking Hernandez with his eighth overall goal.