MSoc: DePuy scores twice, including game-winner

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Reigning Big West Offensive Player of the Week Nick DePuy extended his hot streak on Saturday evening, scoring a pair of goals – including the overtime game-winner – to propel No. 28 UC Santa Barbara to a 2-1 win on the road at Cal State Northridge.

For the Gauchos (7-3-1, 2-0-0 Big West), it was deja vu at Matador Soccer Stadium, as it was the second time in a row that the team traveled south to the San Fernando Valley and walked away overtime winners.

DePuy opened the match’s scoring in the 38th minute, finishing off an Andy Perez cross with a header to put UCSB up 1-0 for the eighth time this season.

The Matadors (4-5-1, 0-2-0) grabbed an equalizer late in the first half via Dean Wright, and then CSUN keeper Adam Hobbs singlehandedly kept his team in the game in the second half by making nine of his 10 saves.

Fortunately for UCSB, DePuy was able to both create the scoring opportunity and then finish it off in the 98th minute and send the Gauchos home happy.

At the top of the penalty area and with junior midfielder Seo-In Kim hanging out a few steps away, DePuy was able to flick an over-the-top pass into space for Kim after the latter’s defender converged with DePuy trying to win the header.

Kim collected the ball, cut in and unleashed a shot towards Hobbs, who made yet another game-saving stop. The rebound of Kim’s shot came to the feet of sophomore forward Ahinga Selemani, who tried to quickly slide it into the open net but his shot hit the right post and caromed back out into the six-yard box, where DePuy was waiting to finish off the play with a hardly-struck close range strike.

They were the conference-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season for DePuy, who has now scored 19 goals in 24 games since converting to forward midway through the 2014 season. It was also his conference leading fifth game-winning goal of the season, a figure which ranks top-five nationally.

On the defensive side, UCSB bottled up the Matador attack to the tune of just five shots, only three of which found their way on the frame. Keeper Justin Vom Steeg made a pair of saves while improving his record on the season to 7-2-0.

Hobbs’ 10 saves were the most by a Gaucho opponent in the past three seasons.

With the pair of road wins on the week, UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg needs just one more victory in conference play to become the first-ever coach to win 100 Big West games.

Vom Steeg and the Gauchos get their first crack at that milestone win on Thursday night as they play host to UC Riverside at 7:00 p.m. UCSB finishes up the week with a showdown against Cal State Fullerton next Saturday night.