The end of February saw the Gaucho men’s and women’s lacrosse teams seriously developing their midseason identities. The men traveled to the University of San Diego on Sunday where they got a 14-12 win to even their season record at 3-3. For the women, the week’s play started on Wednesday, when they routed #19 USC by a score of 15-6. They then returned home to face #4 UC Davis and eked out a 19-18 victory on a last second goal to remain undefeated at 9-0.
The men’s game got off to a slow start. Solid defensive play on both sides kept the match scoreless for the first four minutes, with San Diego finally taking a 1-0 lead with 11 minutes left. The Gauchos responded with a goal of their own, scored by sophomore midfielder Kyle Johnson, less than two minutes later, but they could not muster enough offense in the opening quarter to match USD, trailing 5-3 at its close.
Fortunately, Santa Barbara’s offense woke up for the second quarter. The Gauchos scored three times in a row to open the period, with the first coming less than a minute in from junior midfielder Nate Wellin. The Gauchos scored three more times in the second, while USD netted four more goals, and at halftime the game was tied 9-9.
The third quarter was what won the game for UCSB. The Gauchos came out of the break re-energized, and held San Diego scoreless while adding three goals to take a 12-9 lead. In the fourth quarter with just 21 seconds left to play, senior captain and midfielder Ryan Sanders put the go-ahead goal past the San Diego goalie, and then with five seconds left senior midfielder Jake Kozonis added an insurance goal to give the Gauchos a 14-12 victory, their second win in a row.
“I think that we are definitely on pace to get to where we want to be,” Head Coach Mario Waibel said. ”The players are starting to get more comfortable in our systems.”
As for the UCSB women, Wednesday’s game was close for only a few minutes. UCSB led 2-1 about four and a half minutes into the first half, and then freshman midfielder Lindsay Remigio scored an unassisted goal that started the Gauchos on a nine-goal streak that gave them an 11-1 lead at the half, despite being without four of their starters due to injury. Though USC scored five times to UCSB’s four in the second half, the Gauchos still had no trouble putting the Trojans away and taking the 15-6 win.
“We won the draw controls and took advantage of our chances,” Head Coach Paul Ramsey said. ”We’re getting very good at winning the loose balls and doing something with them.”
Saturday’s game against UC Davis proved to be a greater challenge by far. Junior midfielder Ashley Antoon-Algieri opened the scoring just 50 seconds into the game to give Santa Barbara an early advantage, but throughout the first half, neither team was able to take and maintain control of the game. A narrow 9-7 halftime lead had UCSB’s unbeaten mark in doubt. With about 18 minutes left in the second half, the momentum seemed to have shifted in the Gauchos’ favor, but over the next 17 minutes Davis outscored UCSB 8-2 and tied the game with 51 seconds left. With time winding down, Antoon-Algieri found herself with the ball and a chance to win the game. With just one second showing on the clock, she fired the ball into the Aggie net and the Gauchos improved to 9-0.
“A shot too early can lead to a transition goal for the other team,” Ramsey said. ”After we scored and I realized we’d executed it just about as perfectly as possible, I thought it was too good to be true.”
Fortunately for Ramsey and the Gauchos, the goal stood and the Aggies had no time for a rebuttal. While they got quite a scare, in the end the result was a familiar one: a UCSB win.