UCSB gave up three goals in the second half and lost the Big West regular season men’s soccer championship to UC Riverside, 4-1, on Saturday night in Riverside.
The Highlanders’ win gave them the title and home-field advantage for the Big West Tournament. They finished with 17 points (5-2-2), overtaking the Gauchos (4-1-4) by one point.
As the runner-up UCSB (9-3-4 overall) still receives a bye in the first round of this week’s conference tournament. The Gauchos will host the winner of Wednesday’s Sacramento State at UC Irvine match on Saturday at Harder Stadium.
Riverside plays either UC Davis or CSUN
Riverside took a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute on a goal by Noah Lopez.
Henry Davies scored the equalizer for UCSB in the 30th minute off an assist from Lucas Gonzalez.
The Highlanders did a good job marking UCSB’s leading goal scorer Finn Ballard McBride, holding him without a shot
Riverside took control of the match in the second half. The Highlanders took the lead in the 55th minute on an unassisted goal from Issa Badawiya.
The expanded to 3-1 in the 73rd minute as Oscar Penate found the back of the net. Luka Lukic completed the stunning victory with a goal in the 90th minute.
The Gauchos outshot Riverside 17-9 and took 10 shots on goal compared to the four by the Highlanders.