An early own goal by No. 16 Virginia Tech put the UC Santa Barbara men’s soccer team up early, but the visiting Hokies’ three unanswered goals in response would prove to be too much to overcome as the Gauchos lost 3-1 at Harder Stadium on Sunday night.
UCSB (1-1-0) suffered its first loss at home, either in regular season or postseason play, since a defeat against UC Riverside in the 2017 Big West Tournament first round.
“I thought we had a little bit of difficulty tonight,” UCSB associate head coach Greg Wilson said. “We didn’t really get into a rhythm. It’s early in the year but obviously we wanted to see a bit more quality come out tonight. I didn’t think we were consistent enough out there.”
In the 5th minute, SBCC transfer junior Ameyawu Muntari delivered a cross into the box from the left wing which was on its way to the safe hands of Virginia Tech (2-0-0) goalkeeper Mathijs Swaneveld. But defender Jon Ingason intervened and wrongfully poked the ball into his own net to put the Gauchos on the scoreboard.
Less than three minutes later, the Gauchos committed a foul 25 yards out from goal, setting up a free kick opportunity in the middle of the field.
Defender Jon Ingason masterfully hit it into the top right corner, out of the reach of UCSB sophomore goalkeeper Ben Roach, to tie the score at one-all.
Both squads held until the following half, in which each team saw chances early.
Roach was forced to make three saves in the span of seven minutes, while Gaucho attackers had several shots blocked and one saved by Swaneveld.
n the 66th minute, a cross from midfielder James Kasak found its way past teammate Jacob Labovitz in the six yard box and into the feet of a UCSB defender. With with no time to react, the ball went off the side of his foot and over the line for an own goal, giving Virginia Tech a 2-1 lead.
Swaneveld spared himself from conceding a howler in the 71st minute after UCSB’s senior striker Will Baynham unleashed a powerful effort which nearly went through the legs of the visiting goalkeeper before he scooped it up at the goal line.
Virginia Tech put the game away in the 75th minute. A mid-range free kick effort from Jon Ingason was parried by Roach at his right post only for Labovitz to pounce on the rebound at the opposite side of goal for the finish.
UCSB’s next match is Saturday at 7 p.m. against Cal.