Oct. 5, 2006
Santa Barbara, CA - Thanks to goals early and late in the first half, the 11th-ranked UCLA men's soccer team defeated UC Santa Barbara, 3-1, in front of a raucous crowd of 5,475 in Santa Barbara's Harder Stadium.
For the second straight season, UCLA struck first in the early minutes. Last year, then-freshman Brad Rusin scored his first collegiate goal in the third minute, and this season, freshman midfielder Michael Stephens scored his first collegiate goal at 1:00. Stephens took a shot from the right side, and a Gaucho defender stuck a foot out to clear it, but the ball bounced off his foot and past UCSB goalkeeper Kyle Reynish for the goal at 1:00, Stephens' first of his collegiate career. Sal Zizzo was credited with the assist.
Santa Barbara's Nick Perera had a good look at the goal at 10:17. After getting past the UCLA defense, Perera hit a hard shot from 12 yards out, but goalkeeper Brian Perk made a diving stop to maintain the lead. After a Kyle Nakazawa free kick went just wide, the Gauchos had another good opportunity on the ensuing possession, but a Perera header in front of the goal went high. They did not waste their next opportunity, however, as Eric Frimpong collected a rebound off an Eric Avila shot that was saved by Perk. Frimpong's shot went into the back of the net for the tying goal at 24:12.
With less than a minute to play in the half, the Bruins regained the momentum and the lead when Zizzo played a ball into the box to Jason Leopoldo, who finished for his third goal of the year at 44:15.
UC Santa Barbara went down a man with 35:44 left to play after Greg Curry was issued his second yellow card on a hard foul on Leopoldo. It was the third consecutive game in which UCSB has played down a man. The advantage proved beneficial for the Bruins. At 87:53, David Estrada hit a sharp-angled shot while almost parallel with the goal and watched it go in untouched into the open net for the 3-1 lead.
Perk had another outstanding game in goal, making nine saves on 16 Gaucho shots, including two nice stops in the last seven and a half minutes. Reynish had two saves on 11 Bruin shots.
UCLA's record improves to 7-3-2, while UCSB drops to 6-5-0.