WSoc: Gauchos finish in three-way tie for 1st

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – Kourtney Kutscher scored on Cal State Northridge’s second penalty kick of the afternoon, this one in the ninth minute of overtime, to lift the Matadors to a 4-3 win over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday afternoon.

The Gauchos finish with a 6-2 Big West Conference record, good for 18 points and a three-way tie for the league crown with Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. By virtue of a tiebreaker, the 49ers will enter next week’s conference tournament as the No. 1 seed, UCSB will be No. 2 and Fullerton will be No. 3. UC Riverside is the No. 4 seed.

UCSB and Fullerton will play in the first round of the tournament on Thursday, Nov. 4 at the Titans home field, Titan Stadium.

Kutscher’s penalty kick came after UCSB bounced back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score at 3-3 in the 69th minute. The teams were scoreless over the next 30 minutes until the game-winner.

Tabatha Dickson opened the scoring for Northridge in the fourth minute on a header that went past Gaucho goalkeeper Beth Ritter.

The Matadors made it 2-0 at the 12:55 mark when Kutscher took a short pass from Lyndsey Preston and went in one-on-one with Ritter down the left side of the box. Kutscher scored on a short shot.

CSUN scored the first of its two penalty kicks early in the second half to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Kendall Moskall was called on to take the shot and she converted.

UCSB started to fight back in the 58th minute. Maddie Gibson went left-to-right and put one into the back of the net from about 25 yards out. It was her first goal of the season and it came at the 57:11.

Gibson didn’t wait long to score her second goal of the year. At 64:29, she took a cross inside the box from Mallory Hromatko put the ball home from straight away, narrowing the gap to 3-2.

Amanda Ball completed the comeback for the Gauchos, scoring off a run from about 15 yards out. It was her fourth goal of the year and came in the 69th minute.

Santa Barbara outshot Northridge by a 16-10 count with Hromatko led the way with seven shots.

The loss ends UCSB’s four-game winning streak. The Gauchos will enter Thursday’s Big West Tournament with an overall record of 13-5-1 after starting the season with back-to-back losses. The co-Big West regular season title is the team’s first since 2004.