Last season, the UCSB women’s club lacrosse team went 20-2 overall. They were undefeated in the regular season and hoped for an equally successful postseason. Unfortunately, that was not to be. They lost 11-10 in the semifinals of the national championship tournament to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. They then lost 12-10 in the third place game to the University of Colorado Boulder. This was not completely their fault. According to Head Coach Paul Ramsey, the game was poorly scheduled. The Gauchos only had 90 minutes between the semifinals game and the third place game. Boulder, on the other hand, had three and a half hours between games.
“The bottom line, though, is that we just didn’t play well after the emotional loss to Cal Poly in the semis and we were down 8-1 at halftime to Colorado before losing 12-10,” Ramsey said.
This season, the Gauchos are hoping for better results in the postseason, but they have to get through the regular season first. According to Coach Ramsey, the gauchos opted to skip preseason scrimmages because they open up early on the 24th at San Diego State. Ramsey believes that a different approach to this season than they had last season will help them stay focused throughout the regular and postseasons.
“This year we are going to approach each game as a chance to play and enjoy ourselves regardless of the opponent,” Ramsey said. “We got wrapped up about specific opponents last year and it affected our performance. In common language we were tight. I don’t yet have an answer for how we’re going to be looser on game day against rivals, but this is my goal.”
This season, as with last season, the Gauchos are ranked 4th in the preseason polls. They also had one of their own recognized as preseason player of the year: senior midfielder and captain Katie Moran.
“The preseason player of the year nod kept me focused on training over break,” Moran said. “I’m honored to be recognized, but more excited to win a national championship with my team. Does it mean I’m going to work my ass off to get player of the year? Yes. But is that my number one priority? No.”
Though the game is not till the 24th, Coach Ramsey is already planning for San Diego State. However, as formal training and practices are just getting started, he knows that they also must review the basics.
“Fundamentals are going to occupy at least half our practices for a long time,” Ramsey said. ”But, we do have an offense to put in and we’re changing it up on defense a little bit. We want to apply more pressure on the ball and take away nearby outlet passes daring the other team to skip it to the other side of the field. When we can we will rotate everyone over and try to trap the ball in a double team on the wing.”
According to Coach Ramsey, the Gauchos main weakness could be their youth, though because they have such talented freshmen, this could also be an advantage. Moran shares this sentiment with her coach.
“We have a lot of young players joining the team this year, so we’ll surprise some teams in the league with new faces and new skill,” Moran said.
Coach Ramsey expects his team to qualify for the national championship tournament this year, which he expects every year. However, he does not expect them to go undefeated again.
“I expect we will not make it through the regular season undefeated,” Ramsey said. “But I expect that will make us a better team at the end of the season. A few losses are going to help us peak later. Of course, we’re not going out looking to take a loss here or there but it’s not going to shake the leaves off the tree if we get one.”
The Gauchos started training Tuesday, January 6th.