A smothering UCSB defense brought Kentucky’s high-scoring attack to a halt, and David Walker‘s early goal was all the Gauchos needed to defeat the Wildcats 1-0 Friday night before 2,753 soccer fans at Harder Stadium.
Walker, a junior from Orange, got his head on a corner kick by Jon Curry in the fifth minute of the game and snapped the ball past Kentucky goalkeeper Dan Williams. It was the first goal given up by the Wildcats in three games. They had outscored their first two opponents 11-0.
UCSB, ranked No. 7 on the College Soccer News poll, survived several threatening situations early in the second half. Trond Helge Takset, the Gauchos’ freshman goalkeeper from Norway, leaped to knock a scorching 25-yard shot by Kentucky’s Tyler Burns over the crossbar.
“We look for our goalie to make a great save every game,” UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “Trond made that one save. I’m very happy for our defense tonight.”
Aside from Walker’s bull’s-eye, the Gauchos had trouble finishing their attacks with accuracy. They outshot Kentucky 27-13 but put only five shots in the frame.
With a 2-0 record, UCSB will hit the road for its next three games, starting Sunday at Loyola Marymount, then a trip to the East Coast, facing Rutgers and Columbia.
The Gauchos will return home for a September 18 game against Evansville and a September 21 match against defending national champion Wake Forest.