MSoc: Gauchos erupt in 2nd half for historic win at UCLA

LOS ANGELES – No. 25 UCSB scored three goals in a 10-minute span early in the second half to pull away and defeat UCLA by a score of 4-2 in Monday night’s Pac-12 Network-televised game at Drake Stadium, giving the Gauchos their first ever road win against the Bruins.

It was a historic win on a number of fronts for the Gauchos (4-2-1), who became the first team since 2010 to post four or more goal against the Bruins (2-4-0) in a regular season game. It was also the first time that UCLA ceded that many goals in a home game since 2006. For UCSB, the four-goal output was its best in a road game since it tallied six at Seattle on Sept. 16, 2012.

The Bruins were the first team on the board on Monday, becoming the first UCSB opponent to grab the first goal in a game this season. However, junior forward Nick DePuy answered back with an equalizer in the 38th minute. Then after the break, UCSB reeled off three straight from sophomore forward Ahinga Selemani, DePuy’s second, and junior midfielder Josue Espana.

“We’re coming off two tough road losses, but we liked what we saw from our team in those games,” said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. “We came in here tonight believing we could win. We fell behind, but Nick’s goal lifted us up heading into halftime. After the break, we were determined to find a way to get it done, and everything came together at the best possible time. It’s a great win for the players and a great win for the program.”

UCSB improved to an undefeated 10-0-3 in games all-time in which DePuy scores a goal. The brace for the Irvine native continued a staggering trend in his goal-scoring account, as he now has 15 goals – including an astounding nine game-winners – in just 20 appearances since converting to forward midway through the 2014 season.

The Bruins struggled all night to contain DePuy and Selemani up top, as UCSB’s forwards exhibited a high work rate that punished the Bruins back four for cavalier play in the defensive third. The duo figured in each of UCSB’s four goals, with DePuy also picking up an assist on Espana’s 63rd minute marker.

“Obviously this is a difficult result, but for the most part we got what we deserved,” UCLA Jorge Salcedo told the Bruins athletic Web site. “The four goals we gave up were avoidable and if our team and individual defending was better, I think it could have been a different result. UC Santa Barbara came in and attacked us really well in the second half and we struggled to deal with it.”

Bruin Larry Ndjock opened the contest’s scoring in the 19th minute after converting on a penalty, the first such infraction by UCSB this season.

However, DePuy and freshman midfielder Geoffrey Acheampong hooked up late in the first half to level the score. DePuy played a ball down the left side of the field for Acheampong, who then went right back to DePuy with a great cross to the near post. UCSB’s leading goal-scorer did a good job to beat his marker to the ball, and headed off the near post and in to make it 1-1.

UCSB went on to take the lead for good in the 54th minute, with Selemani finishing off a counterattack by rifling a shot from the top of the box past UCLA keeper Juan Cervantes.

DePuy earned his brace in the 57th minute, finishing off an Espana corner kick by once again beating Cervantes with a header.

Espana then put the game on ice in the 63rd, notching his first UCSB goal by redirecting a DePuy pass after the latter had forced a turnover by a Bruins defender.

The Bruins brought it back within two in the 79th minute on a Seyi Adekoya goal, but they could only muster one shot attempt the rest of the contest.

Freshman goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg made four saves in the victory, improved his personal record to 4-1-0 on the year.

UCSB wraps up its final week of nonconference play by hosting Akron on Friday and San Diego on Sunday at Harder Stadium