MSoc: Gauchos upended by Cal Poly in 2nd OT

SAN LUIS OBISPO – UCSB suffered its second straight loss on the road in the Big West play Saturday as Cal Poly’s Kody Wakasa scored in the second overtime to lift the Mustangs to a 3-2 victory over the Gauchos in front of a sellout crowd of 11,075 at Spanos Stadium.

The Gauchos dropped to 9-5-1 overall and 4-2-0 in conference play. Cal Poly improved to 8-3-3, 3-1-2.

In a game filled with offensive chances, both teams netted a pair of goals in the opening half.

Just moments after UCSB midfielder Josue Espana was sent off for a second yellow card, the Mustangs won their fifth corner kick of the match in the 104th minute. On the ensuing set piece, junior defender Jack O’Connor – who was substituted into the match less than 30 seconds before the game-winner was scored – whipped in a near-post cross to Wakasa, who flicked the ball back across inside the far post.

It was the first goal of the season for Wakasa, another junior defender, and the first assist of the season for O’Connor.

UCSB was the first team on the board, as junior forward Ismaila Jome found the back of the net for his second goal of the week. Sophomore midfielder Kevin Feucht found Jome at the top of the box. After a good first touch, Jome curled a shot into the top right corner past Cal Poly keeper Wade Hamilton.

Cal Poly didn’t wait long to respond, scoring three minutes later. Justin Dhillon created the chance, maneuvering into the UCSB penalty area before sending a pass to Ruben Duran, who netted his second goal of the season.

Kip Colvey put the Mustangs ahead in the 30th minute, ripping a shot off UCSB goalkeeper Justin Vom Steeg and into the net.

UCSB got right back to work for an equalizer, with a promising Nick DePuy shot glancing off the post in the 36th.

The Gauchos remained diligent and junior midfielder Seo-In Kim was the benefactor of prolonged UCSB pressure, as the Duke transfer knocked home a goal after a scramble in the box off a Geoffrey Acheampong corner kick. It was the eighth game out of the last 10 in which Acheampong recorded a point.

UCSB enjoyed the majority of possession in the second half and first overtime period, outshooting the home team 13-3 in that time frame. However, the goalkeeping of Hamilton kept the Mustangs in the game, as the senior made six important saves on the night.

The Gauchos’ best chance for a go-ahead goal came in the 80th minute, as Feucht launched a goal-bound shot off a corner towards the Cal Poly net, but it was saved and cleared out by a Mustangs defender to keep the score tied.

Sophomore forward Ahinga Selemani led the squad with six shots on the night, with DePuy just behind him at five.

Cal Poly went 28 minutes between their last shot of the second half and their first shot of the overtime period.

With three teams separated by just one point at the top of the Big West North standings, the Gauchos (12 points) are scheduled to take on both squads trying to knock them off the divisional perch next week, as they take on UC Davis (11 points) on Wednesday night before a rematch with Cal Poly (11 points) on Prime Ticket on Saturday night. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. kickoffs at Harder Stadium.