The UC Irvine Men’s Soccer team had a lengthy match against UC Santa Barbara on Gaucho territory on Wednesday, Oct. 6. After double overtime at Harder Stadium, both teams finally scored one goal a piece.
Irvine took possession of the ball to kick off the game, but they had visible difficulty with both defense and offense from the start. In the past, the Anteaters have proven themselves to be fairly good at ball control. However, UCI couldn’t manage to get a hold of the ball this match, compared to the Gauchos who continued to push forward. It was obvious that UCSB had a slight advantage in the first period.
UC Santa Barbara was the first to respond, breaking the slow start of the game. Junior forward Thaabit Baartman scored for the Gauchos at the bottom center goal, gaining a lead by one against the Anteaters. Santa Barbara’s offense was an important advantage for their team. As the period continued, UCI found their own offensive edge. Still, the Anteaters lacked precision, allowing the Gauchos to keep their lead into the second period.
After UCSB’s goal from Baartman, both teams volleyed back and forth, with no significant plays on either side. UCI had opportune shots by freshman forward Jake Means and redshirt sophomore forward Kelvin Neumetzler; however, both were saved by UCSB’s sophomore goalkeeper Leroy Zeller.
Means’ offensive performance remained strong throughout the second period, but UCI still struggled to execute precise shots. Means had a close goal against the Gauchos, but the ball bounced off of the goal post where Zeller was barely able to save it.
As the second period came to a close, the Anteaters’ opportunities were slim and the outcome was looking up for the Gauchos. With 15 seconds left of the game, Means scored a jaw-dropping goal against UCSB. The Anteaters tied it 1-1 with Santa Barbara, granting themselves a second chance at success.
Neither team could seal the deal on the win in the third and fourth periods, resulting in a final tie after double overtime.
The UCI Men’s Soccer team took the field again on Saturday, Oct. 9 and won against the Cal Poly Mustangs, 1-0, in the Anteater Stadium at 7 p.m.
The Anteaters look to continue their win onto their next game against UC Davis on Oct. 13 at Anteater Stadium.
Malia Nazario is a Contributing Writer. She can be reached at mnazariouci.edu.