Men's Soccer Earns Tie with No. 4 UC Santa Barbara
Aug. 31, 2012
SPOKANE, Wash. – It looked as though the Oregon State men’s soccer team would have to take a bitter dose of its own medicine when the No. 4 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos scored in the final minute of the first half to take a 2-1 lead. Last week in the season opener against Sacramento State, it was the Beavers who scored in the final seconds of the half to take the lead and the momentum on their way to a 4-0 win.
On Friday afternoon at Gonzaga University, however, senior Alex Penny scored in the 72nd minute to tie the score and force a 2-2 draw. In the final minutes of the first half, though, it looked like a Gauchos’ surge would propel them to victory.
UC Santa Barbara (1-0-1) erased an early 1-0 deficit with two goals in the final five minutes of the opening period. The first came on Dion Acoff’s spin-and-shoot at the top of the 18-yard box as he beat Beaver goalkeeper Matt Bersano to the left side.
Then in the 45th minute, Javier Castro headed home the go-ahead goal to put the Beavers behind for the first time in 2012.
“We are disappointed that we let that moment get away from us,” head coach Steve Simmons said. “But we were able to stay focused and level-headed. Our team was resilient and gritty today when we needed to be.”
The Beavers scored first on an early tally from Khiry Shelton.
Sophomore midfielder Jackson Groves started the play by attacking the middle of the Gauchos’ defense, finding space to the top of the box. He fed Shelton, who deposited his second goal of the season in the 13th minute to give Oregon State a 1-0 lead.
The Beavers (1-0-1) had a chance to add to the lead in the 35th minute. Senior Alex Penny had a shot saved and after the ensuing throw-in, senior Emery Welshman’s chip was also knocked away by Gauchos keeper Austin Mansker.
After the Gauchos scored their two goals, each team had chances to score. Shelton had a chance to tie the score in the 53rd minute, but his attempt in the six-yard box was swept away by the UCSB defense.
“We had good pressure,” Simmons said. “I thought we could have done more to kick it up a notch, but Santa Barbara is a good team.”
Ema Boateng had an opportunity to add an insurance goal for UCSB in the 60th minute, but Bersano stood tall to keep the game at 2-1.
That paid off in the 72nd minute when the Beavers were able to knot the score. Penny found the loose ball in the box and planted it into the top left corner to tie the game. Sophomore Chase Raskowsky picked up the assist.
“Penny is very good at pressuring and creating havoc, and he found himself in the right spot and deserved the finish,” Simmons said.
Penny, Shelton, and senior Emery Welshman led the Beavers with two shots and a shot on goal apiece. Welshman was injured in the first half and didn’t come back into the game, but his status is day-to-day.
“Other guys were able to step up but it’s always good to have the horses in there.”
The Beavers were looking for their first win against a top-10 opponent in nearly eight years. Oregon State defeated No. 7 UCLA and No. 9 Washington in consecutive games in Nov. 2004. The Beavers also tied No. 5 UCLA, 1-1, in Nov. 2009, and No. 1 Indiana in Sept. 2005.
“USCB has some fantastic players and they asked a lot of questions of our defense,” Simmons said. “Our guys were gutsy and I’m proud of them, but when we review the game, we’re going to expect more of them.
The Beavers now face Manhattan College on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. in Spokane.