Frustration turned into violence Sunday when UCSB suffered its third consecutive overtime defeat in men’s soccer at Harder Stadium. Gaucho defender Peter McGlynn was led off the field in handcuffs after he assaulted the referee at the conclusion of the match.
UC Davis stuck a dagger into UCSB’s hopes of reaching the postseason when Matt Sheldon scored his second goal of the day, giving the Aggies a 2-1 victory before a crowd of 2,684. The Gauchos contended that their goalkeeper, Austin Mansker, was fouled as he tried to secure the ball before the goal was scored.
UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg engaged the referee, Reed Christy, in an animated discussion on the field. McGlynn suddenly charged Christy and gave him a hard shove, according to witnesses, and the referee went toppling to the ground. He did not apparently suffer any injuries. McGlynn was restrained and arrested by campus police on the scene.
After losing three of their last four Big West Conference matches, the Gauchos were in a desperate, must-win situation Sunday. Their hopes were lifted when Achille Campion – a potent striker who had missed the last 10 games because of an ankle injury – scored in the first half to put them up 1-0. But the visiting Aggies tied the score with just three seconds remaining in the half. UCSB, which took 26 shots, missed several chances to retake the lead, and its inability to finish proved costly when Sheldon got two shots at a loose ball in overtime, scoring on a rebound the second time.
McGlynn, a senior from Skerries, Ireland, had received his second yellow card of the match two minutes before the deciding goal. Despite their disappointment, UCSB fans were disgusted by his attack on the referee. “A great example to our kids,” a parent said sarcastically while leaving the stadium.
The UCSB men had incurred a serious reputation for belligerence during the 2010 NCAA playoffs, when their altercation with the referee following a controversial defeat resulted in the suspensions of three players and a reprimand to Vom Steeg.
McGlynn acted alone in this case. “Vom Steeg told the players to stay away,” said Bob Brontsema, UCSB’s assistant athletic director in charge of events. But this latest episode is another black eye for one of school’s proudest sports programs. The Gauchos won the NCAA championship in 2006 and had made 10 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, a streak that is almost certain to be history after Sunday’s setback.