MSoc: Gauchos bounce back, unload on Colgate, 4-1

Probably the best thing for the UCSB men’s soccer team was to get back on the field as soon as possible after Tuesday’s lopsided loss at Stanford.

Three days after suffering at 4-1 defeat up north, the Gauchos responded with a 4-1 thumping of Colgate at Harder Stadium on Friday night.

Drew Murphy and Axel Mendez converted penalty kicks and Ismaila Jome and Denis Kalamar tallied goals in the run of play as the Gauchos dominated on offense, outshooting Colgate 22-4 (9-2 shots on goal).

“It was an important relief game for us,” UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “Once again, we played well connecting things and we were able to finish our opportunities tonight.”

Despite creating good scoring opportunities, game remained scoreless until the 43rd minute when Nick DuPuy went down via a late tackle in the box as he was trying to control a Colgate clearance. The referee awarded a penalty kick and Drew Murphy stepped up and delivered, getting the goalkeeper going opposite way of his shot.

The Gauchos got their second penalty-kick goal after Kevin Garcia-Lopez was upended by another reckless challenge as he was running on to a Jome through pass in the penalty area. Mendez drilled his spot kick right down the middle as the goalkeeper dived to his left. It was his first collegiate goal.

“We were able to score tonight because we played as a collective unit,” said Mendez. “It was good to see that we were finally able to finish the ball.”

Vom Steeg was pleased how the team played in the attacking third of the field.

“Both PKs were a consequence of us getting through,” he said. “We made better decisions tactically. We haven’t done the small things it takes to win college soccer games.”

One of those things is defending better on set pieces. Colgate’s Ethan Kulter scored on a free kick to make it a 2-1 game in the 66th minute.

The Gauchos bounced back eight minutes later when Jome collected a cross from Murphy and buried a shot for his first goal of the season.

Dennis Kalamar made it 4-1 with his first college goal, a long-range blast from 27 yards that zipped over the goalkeeper’s head.

Sophomore goalkeeper Josh McNeely didn’t see as many shots as he did at Stanford and needed to make only one save in the match.

“Obviously, we were coming off a disappointing loss,” McNeely said. “Our main goal was to try and get the shutout, just be clean and confident in the back. We gave up the one goal on a set piece, and that was unfortunate. But everyone came together tonight and we really moved the ball well, which going forward is going to be a really important part of our team.”

The victory improved UCSB’s record to 2-2-1. More importantly for UCSB, it gave the team a big confidence boost after the ugly loss at Stanford.

“We want to win games and we want to win home games, so it was an important one for us,” Vom Steeg said. “That’s what we were looking for all night: how to respond to something that happens that’s not good.”

Next up for the Gauchos is top-ranked UCLA next Saturday at Harder Stadium.