MSoc: Gauchos claim Big West North title outright

UCSB clinched the Big West North title outright on Saturday in Davis. (Presidio Sports File Photo)

UCSB clinched the Big West North title outright on Saturday in Davis. (Presidio Sports File Photo)

DAVIS, Calif. – Three days after clinching at least a share of its third consecutive Big West North title, No. 17 UC Santa Barbara finished the job and clinched the division championship outright via a 1-0 win in Saturday afternoon’s regular season finale at UC Davis.

The Gauchos end the campaign with a 12-5-2 overall record and a 7-2-1 mark in conference play, giving the team its ninth Big West regular season championship since 2001. As the top seed in the North Division, the Gauchos will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the Big West Tournament.

UC Davis slipped to 7-9-3 (3-4-3 Big West), but the Aggies maintainied their tournament spot as the No. 3 seed in the North thanks to a Sacramento State loss to Cal Poly.

Sophomore midfielder Kevin Feucht was the goalscorer in the contest for UCSB, converting on a penalty kick in the 43rd minute for his fifth goal of the season. All five of the German holding mid’s goals have come in the last six games in which he has suited up.

Freshman forward/midfielder Cody Gibson continued his strong form, earning the penalty for UCSB after being taken down by a UC Davis tackle in the box while trying to put home a rebound of a Nick DePuy shot.

On the other side of the field, freshman goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg stood tall for the Gauchos, making four saves, including a couple 1-v-1 stops.

He received a little help from his back line in the 14th minute, when a diving header from UCD forward was cleared off the line by a Gaucho defender.

Like the last matchup between the two teams, UCSB controlled the majority of possession while the Aggies had most of their players behind the ball, only coming up to threaten on set pieces.

Given that, he Gauchos were a bit unlucky not to push across a second goal.

DePuy, who entered the game with more goals this season than any other player in the country, had a pair of great scoring chances for UCSB. In the 36th minute, he connected with a header off a corner kick, but his shot was pushed just over the bar by Aggies keeper Kris Schultz. He then pushed a rocket shot just wide of the net in the 86th.

Junior midfielder Seo-In Kim had a glorious chance of his own, clanging a shot off the post in the 53rd minute.

Interestingly, all three of the goals scored against UC Davis by the Gauchos this season were on penalty kicks.

Wiesenfarth led the way for UCD with five shots. Schultz had to make six stops for the Aggies.

Earning a bye through the quarterfinal round, UCSB will next play on Wednesday, Nov. 11 in the Big West Tournament Semifinals. They will be opposed by the winner of the quarterfinal game between UC Davis and the No. 2 seed in the South Division.