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Matadors Headed for Sweet 16
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Matadors Headed for Sweet 16
Box Score

Seniors Daniel Paladini and Will Beard tied the match on two separate occasions, while freshman Brian Siu scored the game-winner in the 39th minute, as the Matadors advanced to the third round and the Sweet 16 with a 3-2 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday in front of 1,381 fans at Matador Soccer Field.

The 15th-seeded Matadors, who won their first Division I postseason game, will take on the #2 seed New Mexico in Albuquerque, on Saturday at 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT. The Lobos defeated Wisconsin-Milwaukee 5-3 on penalty kicks Tuesday night after playing to a 2-2 tie during regulation and overtime. Tickets for Saturday's match are $5 for adults and $3 for youth and UNM students. Call (505) 925-LOBO for more information.

For a matchup between a pair of teams that each had sub-1.00 goals against average's this season, it would be a shootout for the first 23 minutes rather than a defensive struggle.

The Matadors had scored first in both previous matches with UCSB this season, but it would be the Gauchos who got the first goal in the sixth minute. Off a Matador turnover, Bryan Byrne ran the length of the field and deflected a shot from the box off a Northridge player at 5:20 for his sixth of the season.

But four minutes later, Paladini would tie the match at one. Off a free kick from 30 yards out on the left side, the senior boomed it past UCSB keeper Kyle Reynish to the lower left corner at 9:18 for his seventh of the season.

Only 2:29 after CSUN tied it, Santa Barbara re-took the lead. The play started as Andy Iro sent a ball ahead to Andrew Proctor. Proctor passed off to Ivan Becerra, who moved into the box and beat freshman goalkeeper Kevin Guppy to the left post for his 12th of the season at 11:47.

After three goals in under 12 minutes, the Matadors waited a whole 11 minutes to even the score. Sophomore Matt Tracy sent the ball ahead to junior Taylor Canel. He passed to the right to Beard, who sent his shot past Reynish to the right side at 23:08 for his second of the season.

Siu would end the first-half scoring, and netted what turned out to be the game-winner, at 38:03. Freshman Jeff Konoske sent a short corner kick to sophomore Sean Franklin. Franklin passed off to his left to a wide open Siu and the true freshman skipped a shot past Reynish to the left post from 35 yards out for his second of the season.

Now with the lead, the Matadors got more focused on the defensive side of the ball and clamped down on the Gaucho offense. Chris Pontius had the first chance to score the equalizer in the second half, but Guppy stopped his shot in the 66th minute. The Gauchos never got another attempt that went past the Matador defensive line, as the other six shots in the second half by UCSB were all blocked.

Although the Matadors were focusing on stopping the Gauchos from scoring the tying goal, CSUN had the better of the opportunities for goals in the final 45 minutes. Junior Ryan Rossi had a pair of chances, but a shot in the 65th minute was saved by Reynish. Twenty minutes later, Rossi was in the middle of the box with Reynish out of position, but he sent an off-balance shot wide left. Canel also had a shot stopped by Reynish, while junior Willie Sims had three shots in the second half go high or wide.

The Matadors outshot the Gauchos 19-13 for the match. Canel had a match-high four shots for CSUN, while Sims added three. Guppy made three saves in net for Northridge. UCSB was led by Becerra's three attempts. Reynish had five stops between the pipes.

Northridge extended its home unbeaten streak against the Gauchos to six (5-0-1) and did not lose to UCSB in three matches this season, going 2-0-1. The three goals allowed by the Gauchos are the most in any match this season, with UCSB having given up two goals on four different occasions.