Kugler does it again, this time in second OT

Kailyn Kugler is officially on fire.

The UCSB junior buried a penalty kick with 52 seconds left in the second overtime to lift the Gaucho women’s soccer team to a 2-1 comeback victory over UC Riverside Sunday night at Harder Stadium.

Kugler scored both goals in the game and now has four in the last three matches — all of them conference victories. The Gauchos are now tied atop the Big West with Cal Poly.

It was also the second straight game in which Kugler scored the game-winner.

“I don’t want to say it’s luck, but I feel like maybe I’ve just been in the right place at the right time,” said Kugler.

The penalty kick was the result of a scramble in the penalty box which left players from both sides on the ground. Riverside, which was playing short-handed after Candis Novis received her second yellow card in the 83rd minute, was doing everything it could to maintain the tie.

UCSB's Erin Ortega dribbles in front of two Riverside defenders.

UCSB's Erin Ortega dribbles in front of two Riverside defenders.

The Gauchos dominated the match, out-shooting the visitors 29-3 and 10-1 after regulation. Kugler had nine shots, including four on-frame opportunities.

In other words, the Highlanders (5-6-3, 0-3-0) would have been happy to high-tail it out of the stadium with a tie.

They were less than a minute away.

Coach Veronica O’Brien was absolutely livid after the whistle, storming onto the field to argue with referee Daniel Radford. After the game, she was trying to track down a form to file an official complaint.

Assistant coach Todd Heil and the rest of the Gauchos (6-7-1. 3-1-1) were on the far side of the field from the play, which occurred as players converged on a rebound of a shot by Erin Ortega.


Kugler later said that she initially thought the foul was going to be called on the Gauchos. Heil didn’t offer an opinion either way.

“It’s just a credit to our girls for getting numbers in the box,” he said. “We were pressing the whole overtime.”

Community West BankKristina Noriega put Riverside in the lead with a rebound-shot in the 36th minute, and the Highlanders had the edge until the 69th. That’s when Kylie McDonald sent in a cross from the left side of the box and Kugler took it, paused, juked a defender and put it away in the near corner.

She put another shot in the back of the net with two minutes left in regulation, but a foul was called on another Gaucho player and the goal was nullified.

“From her freshman year until now she’s been a quality finisher,” said Heil. “You let her loose around the 18 and she’s gonna bury it.”

UCSB hosts Long Beach on Wednesday at 5 p.m.