Nick Perera scored two goals as the No. 19 UCSB men’s soccer team scored a season-high in goals, defeating UC Riverside 5-1 on Tuesday night at Harder Stadium.

It was Perera’s first career multigoal game as the Gauchos improved to 7-4-2 and 2-1-1 in the Big West. UCR fell to 3-9-1, 0-4-0.

UCSB dominated throughout, registering 28 total shots, tying their season-best effort, which also was done in the team’s season opener vs. Air Force. The five goals turned out to be one more than the Gauchos’ previous season-high of four, done against Evansville. Their four first-half goals also doubled the team’s highest first half output all season.

Senior forward Chris Pontius got the Gauchos on the board first when he beat UCR goalie Ryan Schmitz to the right side at 16:18 for the Hermann Trophy candidate’s 10th goal of the season. That moves Pontius into a tie for seventh place all-time in the UCSB record books with 25 career goals, tying Steve Pollack, who played from 1975-79.

Perera added his first goal of the night — and third of the season — at 23:41 when he originally had Schmitz beat, but turned around and held the ball as the Highlanders’ goalie got back between the pipes. Then, Perera spun and lofted a shot over Schmitz’s head as the ball hit the bottom of the crossbar and went into the net for a 2-0 advantage.

Less than four minutes later, Perera struck again. Pontius’ shot ricocheted to Perera, standing about 12 yards outside the frame and the senior, with his back to the goal, kicked the ball with his heel into the left corner of the net, stunning Schmitz.

That gives Perera four goals this season and 11 total points, which is second on the team behind Pontius.

Alfonso Motagalvan kept the scoring onslaught coming when he was taken down inside the goalie box by Schmitz. That allowed the senior co-captain a penalty kick, which he buried into the right corner of the net as Schmitz guessed wrong and dived to the other side.

In the second half, the Gauchos played more of a ball-control game as the team took 12 of their 28 shots and several nonstarters saw significant action. Junior forward David Walker scored his third goal of the season at 72:02 when he took a pass from freshman Luis Silva and blasted a shot past Schmitz into the upper right corner of the goal.

Schmitz ended up with 10 saves on the night as he faced 16 shots on goal.

Gaucho goalie Kristopher Minton had three saves and the lone goal he allowed came off the foot of Joel Crompton with some help from one of the posts. Crompton’s shot went past a diving Minton and glanced off the left post, skidding across the front of the goal before it met the right post and bounded into the net.

UCSB faces Cal Poly at 8 p.m. Friday in a game that can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel, which is Channel 265 on Santa Barbara-area Cox Cable.

The Gauchos’ next home game is at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 vs. UC Irvine. The first 500 fans to that Big West contest will receive free seat cushions. Tickets are available by clicking here or calling 805.893.UCSB.

Matt Hurst is UCSB‘s assistant athletics communications director.