The postseason hopes of the Cal State Northridge men's soccer team disappeared in a 3-1 loss to UC Santa Barbara in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match Friday at Harder Stadium.
Both teams had their seasons on the line, with the winner earning the fourth and final berth to the conference championships Nov. 10-12 at UCLA. A New Mexico victory over Nevada Las Vegas on Wednesday kept Santa Barbara's playoff hopes alive and made it possible for the Gauchos to qualify with either a victory or a tie against Northridge (7-7-2, 3-3-1 in conference play) .
The Gauchos (12-4-1, 4-3) sealed the victory with 24 minutes remaining on a goal by Greg DePaco from a pass by Mike Squellati that froze the Northridge defense.
Santa Barbara's Danny Mann scored the first goal with a header eight minutes into the contest.
Northridge answered six minutes later to even the match, 1-1. Matt Davis collected a long pass from Danny Nishiyama and fired it past Gaucho goalkeeper Stewart Sanders.
Santa Barbara took a 2-1 halftime lead on an own-goal by Matador Ross Linhart.
The goal was credited to Jeff Johnson, who dribbled into the box, beat several defenders and played the ball across the mouth of the goal, where Linhart deflected it off the post into the net.
Keith West, the leading scorer in the conference, played ineffectively after missing practice all week because of a bruised thigh.