The UCSB men’s lacrosse team visited UCLA on Saturday for their first divisional game of the season. The first half was slow offensively for the Gauchos, much like their previous games. However, UCSB’s defense was able to hold the Bruins to just three goals in that half, and when play resumed for the third quarter the Gauchos made a roaring comeback and came home with a 9-4 win.
The first quarter played out like a game of tug-of-war. Early in the quarter, UCLA was able to briefly break the stalemate to take a 1-0 lead, but the tale of the opening period was one of tight defensive play on both sides. Though UCSB was able to hold off UCLA’s offense for the majority of the quarter, it seemed like the Gauchos were taken by surprise by their opponent’s high level of play.
“I think the team may have been looking past [the Bruins] since they did not have the rankings of our previous opponents,” Head Coach Mario Waibel said. “A big mistake, as UCLA came to play.”
In the second quarter, UCLA took advantage. They scored twice more to make it 3-0 early in the quarter, but thanks to great goalkeeping by senior goalie Zack Carson, who saved eight of UCLA’s 12 shots on goal in the game, the Bruins could not extend their lead any further before halftime. As the second quarter came to a close, the Gauchos began to wake up on offense and managed to score just before the half to make it a two-goal game.
When play resumed in the second half, the Gauchos caught fire. As the defense went into lockdown, the offense went on a rampage. UCSB controlled the ball for the majority of the quarter, making cleaner passes which translated into three goals before the quarter ended, making it a 4-4 game going into the final quarter.
“[During halftime] we just took a deep breath and talked about the importance of executing our game plan,” Waibel said.
In the fourth quarter UCSB’s defense completely shut down the Bruins, and junior attacker Jamie Bridgman torched the UCLA defense for five straight goals to give his team an impressive 9-4 victory to make the Gauchos 2-3 overall and 1-0 in division play.
“As a team we all contributed in different ways to get those nine goals. Getting our first division win of the season was really important.”