Nov. 15, 2008
IRVINE, Calif. - The No. 8 UC Irvine men's soccer team (14-1-6) defeated No. 19 UC Santa Barbara 4-2 Saturday night to win the Big West Conference Tournament at Anteater Stadium.
Senior Rafael Macedo (South Gate/Salesian HS) scored off a cross from sophomore Amani Walker (San Diego/Francis Parker HS) in the 10th minute to put UCI up 1-0. Walker headed in a ball off a throw in by sophomore Gray Bailey (Huntington Beach HS) in the 17th minute to put UCI up 2-0. Walker and Macedo connected again in the 27th minute to give the `Eaters a 3-0 lead. Junior Irving Garcia (San Luis, Ariz./Yavapai College) took a cross from junior Carlos Aguilar (Palmdale/Taft College) and knocked it in the 40th minute to put UCI up 4-0. The Gauchos were awarded a penalty kick in the 76th minute following a handball in the box and it was converted by Chris Pontius to cut the lead to 4-1. With 51 seconds left, UCSB was given another penalty kick and this time it was converted by Nick Perera to bring the final score to 4-2.
Freshman keeper Andrew Fontein (Las Vegas, Nev./Sierra Vista HS) was named the Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player after having nine saves for the `Eaters. Keeper Kristopher Minton had four saves for the Gauchos.
The crowd of 1,832 was the largest crowd in Anteater Stadium history. UCI's four goals came on their first four shots.
The Anteaters earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament with the victory and will await pairings announced that will be unveiled Monday at 3:00 p.m. (PST) on ESPN News. This will be UCI's first ever trip to the Men's Soccer NCAA Tournament.