Senior forward Erica Seidman earned Big West Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring a goal in each of the Gaucho women’s soccer team’s first two matches of the season this weekend on the freshly-renovated Harder Stadium grass, helping the Gauchos cruise to a 2-0 start after beating Cal State Northridge on Friday and Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday.
“My confidence is obviously at an all-time high,” Seidman, who earned Big West Player of the Week for her efforts, said. “It’s really a great start to the season.”
Sunday’s 2-0 win witnessed only two shots on goal in the first period — both by the Gauchos. UCSB’s first goal came in the 60th minute after senior forward Jacqui Simon paired up with fellow senior forward Kailyn Kugler with a through ball down the right side of the field. Kugler then unleashed a cross from the right of the goal to a streaking Seidman, who nailed a shot into the top of the goal. Junior forward Alissa Sanchez scored in the 80th minute after rebounding a block by Bakersfield keeper Kym Gause to secure the victory.
“This group of girls are more fit than any other team we’ve had in this program and it really showed in the second half,” Head Soccer Coach Paul Stumpf said.
In Friday’s 2-0 win against Big West foe CSUN, Seidman scored in only the seventh minute, blasting a shot into the right netting of the goal off a pinpoint cross from senior forward Kylie McDonald.
“It felt good to start the year off with the goal,” Seidman said, who now has three goals in her Gaucho career.
After the break, Simon tallied a goal off a shot from 24 yards out. The Gauchos had seven more corners than the visting Matadors, outshooting them 14-5 in the effort. Freshman goalkeeper Makenna Henry needed to save only one goal in her debut.
“This was a great way to start the season,” Stumpf said. “We played well and that’s a testament to our veteran players.”
The Gauchos, who were picked by Big West women’s coaches to win the conference in a preseason poll, will face off against Atlantic 10 foe Saint Joseph’s in another non-conference match at 5 p.m. on Aug. 27 prior to the men’s soccer team’s exhibition match against the Mexican U-20 team at 7:30 p.m.