Aug. 26, 2012
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LOS ANGELES - Facing their highest ranked opponent since a 2009 match-up against the same program, the LMU men's soccer team took #4 UC Santa Barbara to the wire, but a late Gaucho goal spoiled the potential upset bid in a 2-1 LMU loss Sunday at Sullivan Field.
Trailing 1-0 nearly the entire game, Lion sophomore Craig Nitti knotted the score 1-1 at the 88:08 mark when he drilled a free kick from just outside the left corner of the box into the far post netting.
But the Gauchos responded on the ensuing kick-off as Nic Ryan headed home the game-winner off a cross from Ema Boateng with 1:16 remaining and UCSB held on in both teams' season-opener.
Achille Campion would put UCSB on the scoreboard in the 12th minute as the Lions were down a man due to injury. Hoping defender Mark Dotseth would be able to return following a leg injury, the Lions did not immediately sub for the freshman and the Gauchos took advantage. Near the right wing, Daniel Welsh slotted a pass to Dom Sarle who sent the ball towards the left post where Campion one-touched it past LMU keeper Billy Thompson.
The LMU defense kept the Gauchos largely at bay following the goal, as the visitor had just four shots the remainder of the period, including just one on goal.
With just under six minutes remaining, the Lions put together one of their best chances of the game when Aaron Garfinkel lofted a cross from the left wing to the top of the box. Dylan Seedman was able to control it and flick it on to Connor Gill who's shot on frame forced a diving save from UCSB keeper Austin Mansker.
LMU finished with eight shots, including five in the second half. The physical play between the two rivals also saw 32 total fouls and six total yellow cards.
The Lions will be in the hunt for their first win of the young season when they return to Sullivan Field on Friday, Aug. 31, hosting UNLV. Kick off is scheduled for 3 p.m.