Hunter Ashworth and Carson Vom Steeg both scored late to help the UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team rally from a two-goal deficit and escape with a 2-2 draw at UC Irvine on Saturday night.
UCSB (7-6-1, 1-2-1) had a chance to take an early lead in the match after a hand ball in the box awarded the Gauchos a penalty kick in the 9th minute. Rodney Michael stepped up but his shot fired off the right post and out to keep the teams scoreless.
First-place UC Irvine (9-4-2, 3-0-1) took advantage just minutes later with a goal from Daniel Crisostomo to put the Anteaters on the board. Awarded a free kick from the left wing near the touch line in the 14th minute, Crisostomo curled the ball up and around the Gauchos’ keeper for the tricky goal.
UCI took advantage of a UCSB miscue to double its advantage with another goal in the 63rd minute. Ivan Canales stole the ball right in front of the Gauchos’ 18-yard box, setting himself up for an easy goal to put the Anteaters ahead 2-0.
Despite its trying times on the road this season, UCSB came together for a pair of late goals to salvage the draw. In the 72nd minute, Ignacio Tellechea sent a free kick from 50 yards on the ground into the box. The ball deflected off Michael to Ashworth, who headed the ball past the UCI keeper for the score.
Just five minutes later in the 77th minute, it was a Michael cross into the box this time that found the foot of Vom Steeg. The sophomore defender redirected the ball into the back of the net for his first goal as a Gaucho, giving UCSB the equalizer.
The Gauchos continued to press on the offensive end, earning four of their five corner kicks in the half in the final seven minutes, but could not find the game-winner. Michael almost made something happen in the 108th minute with a promising run past the defense, but the UCI keeper was there to prevent the chance.
Ashworth and Michael both finished with four shots to lead UCSB while Noah Billingsley tallied three. The Gauchos outshot the Anteaters 20-12 and both teams tallied six corners. Canales finished with a game-high seven shots. Ben Roach recorded two saves in goal for UCSB while UCI keeper Greg Patenaude tallied three.
UCSB returns home, where it is undefeated this year, for its final three games of the regular season beginning this Wednesday, Oct. 17 against UC Davis at 7:00 p.m.