Oct. 9, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. -
Jacob Smith made a key steal with 30 seconds remaining then scored the game-winner with four left on the clock, capping No. 1 Stanford's 6-5 come-from-behind win over No. 5 UC Santa Barbara Sunday at Avery Aquatic Center.
Stanford (9-2, 2-0 MPSF) returns to action next Saturday, Oct. 15, hosting No. 3 UCLA at 12 noon at Avery Aquatic Center.
Smith's game-winner, his second goal of the day, capped a wild final two minutes which featured two lead changes, the final one giving Stanford its first lead of the day.
UC Santa Barbara's (11-6, 0-1 MPSF) Eric Van de Mortel scored his second goal of the day with 2:03 remaining to break a 4-4 deadlock, putting the final dramatics into motion. On Stanford's return trip down the pool, UCSB's Lazar Komadinic was ejected, and Alex Bowen equalized from three meters out with 1:28 to play.
The teams traded possessions until the Gauchos took over with nearly 40 seconds remaining. Smith expertly anticipated a cross-tank pass, knifing in front of his man to make the steal. The senior from Coronado led the Cardinal breakaway into the Gaucho end before being fouled from behind by Liam Gaughan, drawing the ejection and giving the Cardinal a power play with 19 seconds on the clock.
Following a timeout to set up for the final shot, the Cardinal executed superbly, cycling the ball around the perimeter before Smith found the opening from the left wing and fired home the winner. Conner Cleary blocked UCSB's last-gasp attempt as time expired and the Cardinal avoided the upset.
Along with Smith's two goals, Bowen also netted a pair and Alex Avery and Forrest Watkins each added scores. Defensively, Brian Pingree made six saves and directed a Cardinal effort that held its opponent to five or less goals for the third time in four games.
Stanford overcame its slow start in the second half. UCSB opened hot, with goals from Komadinic and Brian Shoemaker in the first period. Stanford responded to each goal behind the arms of Bowen and Avery, but two scores by the Gauchos in the second gave them the 4-2 halftime lead.
The Cardinal defense dug in for the second half, keeping the Gauchos off the board until Van de Mortel's goal in the fourth while the Stanford offense found its rhythm.
A five-meter penalty from Smith halved the deficit, and the Cardinal equalized on Watkins' score with 2:42 remaining in the third frame.
UCSB - 3 1 0 1 = 5
Stanford - 2 0 2 2 = 6
Stanford Goal Scorers: Bowen 2, Smith 2, Avery, Watkins
UCSB Goal Scorers: Van de Mortel 2, Bishop, Gronow, Komadinic
Goalie Saves: Pingree 6 (S); Valics 7 (UCSB)