Gauchos Advance to NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
By Arthur Wilkie, UC Santa Barbara
It took 15 years, but the UC Santa Barbara men's soccer team finally got a chance to avenge its penalty shootout loss to Indiana in the 2004 College Cup Final in the NCAA Tournament, and on Sunday afternoon at Bill Armstrong Stadium they did just that, knocking the Hoosiers out of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 overtime win.
The much-anticipated matchup between the Gauchos and Hoosiers was a tense and tight affair as neither team managed to break through in the first 45 minutes of play, but the defensive midfielders in sophomore Sam Fletcher and senior Mateo Restrepo Mejia made several key plays to keep the Hoosiers out of the Gauchos' final third.
The second half didn't give way to much either, as it continued being a difficult game between the Hoosiers, who carried a five-game shutout streak into the game, and the Gauchos, who had allowed just one goal in their two NCAA Tournament games so far.
Indiana attacker Joshua Penn had the best chance of the afternoon for the home side as the game moved into overtime, dribbling the ball into UCSB's six-yard box and attempting to take a shot before it was blocked by lunging foot of senior centerback Hunter Ashworth.
It was senior striker Will Baynham who gave UCSB its golden goal in the 102nd minute, taking advantage of a mishap by Indiana centerback Jordan Kleyn, who slipped on the wet grass while receiving the ball from a backpass and the Australian forward tucked the ball into the upper right corner on his right foot to send the Gauchos through to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinal round for the first time since 2006.
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The goal was Baynham's 10th of the season.
UCSB dealt Indiana its first defeat at Bill Armstrong Stadium since the 2016 NCAA Tournament Third Round, in which the Hoosiers lost to Virginia Tech.
Kryzda, junior left back William Gillingham, and Ashworth received yellow cards in the game. Ashworth's caution was his eighth of the season, triggering a one-game suspension that will take place in the Gauchos' quarterfinal match.
The Gauchos will face the winner of the game between 4th-seeded Wake Forest and 13th-seeded Michigan. The game will take place on the road regardless of the result, either on Friday, Dec. 6 or Saturday, Dec. 7. TV and radio information will be available throughout the week on UCSBGauchos.com.