Cal Falls to UC Santa Barbara, 2-0 in NCAA 2nd Round
Nov. 26, 2003
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In a rematch of last year's NCAA second-round contest, Cal came up on the losing end of a 2-0 decision versus UC Santa Barbara. With the loss, the Bears postseason aspirations came to an end. They return to Berkeley after an 11-9-2 season, in which they used a late season run to make the postseason, winning their last four matches before tonight. In last year's NCAA second-round match, the Bears defeated the Gauchos 2-1 in Berkeley.
Just as the game had started, Cal caught a tough break. Carl Acosta had to leave, after a physical challenge in the second minute.
'It was a little mistimed when I went into the ball,' Acosta said. 'He was the last defender so I thought I'd take the chance. It was a clean tackle. He got the ball, he just got some of my leg as well.'
Without their leading goal-scorer, the Bears played most of the opening minutes in their own end. UC Santa Barbara began to challenge the Cal defense with crosses and shots. In the 12th minute, UCSB defender Jeff Murphy received a ball at the top of the box and sent a shot on the ground through a crowded penalty box and in.
Down a goal, the Bears began to wake up. They created numerous chances and controlled the last 20 minutes of the half. Andrew Jacobson, Acosta's replacement, almost scored on a through ball in the box, but his shot was deflected over the net. Tyson Wahl had a crack at the net off a Nick Hatzke corner, but his rocket sailed over goal. The Bears went to the locker room looking to regroup.
The second half began mutch like the first. In the 50th minute, Cal went two down when UCSB defender Jon Apilado dribbled deep into the penalty box and sent a deflected pass across to a wide open Tony Lochhead. Lochhead slotted an easy goal into a open net.
Acosta returned for the second half and was active in the Gauchos' box. His half volley from 18 yards out sailed just over the bar. Cal pressed hard, enjoying most of the play in midfield, but the Bears found it difficult to penetrate a Gauchos' box loaded with UCSB players. The Bears outshot the Gauchos, 19-10, but could not find many quality chances inside the penalty box.
Coach Kevin Grimes spoke on losing Acosta early and having to play a first-round game before coming here.
'Not having him [Acosta] for the whole game was an impact for the match,' said Grimes. 'Lately, we usually leave him on the field a full 90 minutes. They looked a little fresher than we did. It seemed like we were half a step behind them. It wasn't until the second half that we began to play and by then it was already 2-0.'