UC Santa Barbara's first step toward what it hopes will be a home assignment for the NCAA Division I men's College Cup final four was more difficult than expected -- and far easier than imagined.
The Gauchos (14-4-3) dictated every phase of its first-round match Thursday night with visiting Denver, but they needed an overtime goal to advance. It came, finally, in the 105th minute, with Ghanian forward Waid Ibrahim -- a product of Los Olivos' Dunn School and Santa Barbara City College -- scoring his first goal of the season from a feed by Danny Barrera (Thousand Oaks/Westlake HS).
UC Santa Barbara outshot Denver, 31-4, unleashed 17 second-half shots and took 11 corner kicks to none for the Pioneers (9-7-4). Denver put just one shot on target.
UCSB, which will stage next month's final four, advances to Sunday's second-round clash at Pac-10 champion Cal (12-2-3), the national No. 6 seed.
UCLA LEARNS FOE: UCLA's eighth-seeded men (14-4-1) on Sunday will take on Sacramento State (10-4-7), which beat West Coast Conference co-champion Santa Clara, 2-1, in the opening round. Chris Bettencourt's 12th goal of the campaign, in the 86th minute, was decisive.
The Bruins' women (13-7-2) have a round-of-16 clash Friday night at top-ranked Stanford (20-0-2).
UCI REDUX: Both schools UC Irvine coach George Kuntz railed against after the Anteaters were criminally left out of the field failed to advance.
Kuntz's primary criticism of the draw was that the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, a fairly minor D1 conference, received three bids (Sacramento State, Denver and New Mexico) while the Big West, an established mid-major power, got only one (UC Santa Barbara).
Denver, of course, lost to the Gauchos, and Sacto State beat Santa Clara. New Mexico was pounded by Creighton, 4-1.
The biggest first-round shocker: Old Dominion knocked out defending champion Virginia, 1-0.
The full NCAA Division I scoreboard:
College of Charleston 3, East Tennessee State 2
Providence 6, St. Peter's 2
Monmouth 0, Dartmouth 4
Sacramento State 2, Santa Clara 1
Creighton 4, New Mexico 1
Princeton 1, Md.-Baltimore County 2
Michigan State 2, Oakland (Mich.) 0
Georgetown 3, UNC Greensboro 0
West Virginia 4, Xavier 2
Tulsa 2, Bradley 0
Brown 2, Boston College 1
UC Santa Barbara 1, Denver 0
Duke 2, Coastal Carolina 1
Central Florida 3, South Florida 0
Virginia 0, Old Dominion 1
Penn 1, Bucknell 0
UCLA'S CLUB SIDES HIT/MISS: UCLA's club soccer teams -- not affiliated with the Bruins' athletic department -- had mixed results at the NIRSA championships in Phoenix. The women beat Purdue (1-0) and Penn State (3-2) to advance to the knockout phase; the men dropped into the consolation bracket after losses to Texas (3-2) and Northwestern (4-1).
The Bruins' women meet Virginia in Friday's round of 16. UC Santa Barbara's women also won both its pool-play matches and meets Cornell in the round of 16.