It was only a matter of time before the high powered UCSB attack found its form and overwhelmed a determined effort by visiting Westmont.
The Gauchos scored three second half goals and pulled away for a 4-0 victory over the Warriors in the annual Community Shield Game on Saturday night at Harder Stadium.
“We did all the right things. I’m a little bit disappointed we didn’t score to kind of open it up sooner,” said UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg. “I thought once the first goal went in then it changes things. You play a little less tight.”
It’s the 32nd and final season for Westmont head coach Dave Wolf and he was honored pregame by UCSB.
With nine players from Santa Barbara County, the Warriors played with intensity and passion as is traditionally the case in the annual crosstown rivalry match.
“Always excited to come here. Always feel like it’s a huge honor to get to play in this game,” Wolf said. “So grateful that UCSB has continued to entertain this opportunity and we know this is a night of big exposure for our group.”
Goalkeeper Abraham Arteaga epitomized Westmont’s grit and determination with several outstanding saves in the first half. He finished with eight saves overall.
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“Whatever comes at me I have faith in myself that I got it. I trust myself, try not to guess and remain confident in my ability,” Arteaga said. “It’s definitely a great experience coming to a big field like this. We don’t get this normally, but whenever we do we make sure make the best of it and play our hearts out.”
In the 42nd minute, a corner kick by Alexis Ledoux to the front of the net found the feet of Finn Ballard McBride, after a slight deflection by Henry Davies, to put the Gauchos ahead 1-0.
The second half got off to a fast start for UCSB as Pablo Figueroa sent in a left-footed cross to Salvador Aguilar who headed it into goal in the 55th minute, increasing the Gauchos lead to 2-0.
The onslaught continued in the 58th minute with UCSB extending it’s lead to 3-0 as Filip Basili sent a header off the post from eight yards out, quickly grabbed his own rebound and headed it into goal.
The fourth and final goal came in the 77th minute when Rigoberto Barragan sent a left-footed cross into the box that found the head of Aguilar, who put away his second goal of the game.
“I’ve been waking up with that hunger every single day to be back in front of these fans and there’s no better feeling than scoring at Harder Stadium,” said Aguilar of his mentality postgame.
The Gauchos will begin regular season play with a non-conference contest against high-touted Missouri State on Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m. Westmont will scrimmage Cal State San Bernardino on August 25 before opening regular season play at Azuza Pacific on Friday, September 2.