Lucas Gonzalez set up a goal and scored on a penalty kick during the first half for UC Santa Barbara, and the Gauchos held off UNLV in the second half for a 2-1 non-conference men’s soccer win at Harder Stadium on Monday night.
The result evened the Gauchos’ record at 2-2 while UNLV fell to 1-2.
Defender Nalu Mack was the recipient of a Gonzalez corner kick for the first goal in the 27th minute. Gonzalez hit a low liner that two UNLV defenders were unable able to clear at the near post. The ball zipped across the goalmouth and deflected off the arm of goalkeeper Hugo Lemos right to an on-rushing Mack, who buried it for the first goal of his college career.
Gonzalez made it 2-0 on a penalty kick that he helped set up. He made a nice diagonal pass to Dominick Phanco breaking into the penalty area and Phanco was taken down by UNLV defender Cesar Carbajal.
UCSB dominated possession in the first half.
The Gauchos created a couple of great chances to expand their lead in the second half. Gonzalez delivered an entry pass to Nicholas Willumson and the forward slammed a header that was saved by Lemos.
Later, Alexis Ledoux beat a defender on the left side of the box but his right-footed shot pinged off the far post. The ball rebounded out to Mikkel Goeling for a clear shot on goal but he was denied on a diving save by Lemos.
UNLV, which was coming off a win over Santa Clara, made it a 2-1 game on a penalty kick in the 76th minute. Defender Andrew Kamienski clipped Bryce Allred running through the box for the penalty. Lopez beat goalkeeper Leroy Zeller to make things interesting.
Zeller came up big in the later stages of the game. He went horizontal to deny a big shot by Lucas Gelebart and later blocked a shot from close range by Tyler Ware. The Gaucho keeper made a season-high eight saves.
“Our defense was much better, we were picked up, but there is still a lot of room to improve, as we all know,” UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “Wins are good, so it was important for us to win, and now we actually have a couple days to regroup. It was a really exhausting game up in Portland on Friday night, that’s just a really tough turnaround trip, and (UNLV) threw everything they had in the second half.”
The Gauchos return to Harder Stadium on Saturday against 7 p.m. It will be AYSO Parade Night, with boys and girls teams in their uniforms marching around the field at halftime.