With two NCAA Tournament appearances under their belt, the seniors on the UCSB women’s soccer team bid Harder Stadium goodbye tonight in their last home match of the season against Seattle University.
[media-credit name=”Daniel Wade” align=”alignleft” width=”148″][/media-credit]“This is a pretty special group to me,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “It was a pretty huge hole in my coaching resume to have never made the playoffs. They are heavily responsible for that first and second trip to that tournament.”
The 10 seniors have a combined total of four All-Big West first team selections and three second team selections. Their NCAA Tournament appearance in 2008 marked the first time the Gauchos made it that far in 17 years.
“I definitely had a great, great run with the girls on the team,” senior forward Kailyn Kugler said. “The girls mean a lot to me.”
While the team was predicted to finish first in the conference again this season, it is currently in fifth place in the Big West at 2-4. At 5-0, UC Irvine holds the conference’s best record. For the Gauchos to clinch the fourth and final spot in the Big West Tournament, Pacific would have to lose its remaining three conference matches and the Gauchos would have to win their last two matches against Cal State Fullerton (2-2 conference).
“There’s still probably still a chance we might go through,” Kugler said. “It’s just unfortunate we put it in other people’s hands. We pretty much have to win out and other teams have to lose out.”
Seattle is the Gauchos’ last out-of-state opponent. In the teams’ last meeting, the Redhawks took only seven shots but managed three goals. UCSB took 15 and scored two. The statistics from the match reflect those of the Gauchos’ 2010 campaign, when the team outshot its opponents 232 to 184 but managed only 20 goals.
Kugler leads the squad with six goals, followed by senior forward Erica Seidman with five.
“I respect the fact that she sat on the bench for three years, and this year, given the opportunity to start, she’s the second leading scorer,” Stumpf said.
Senior Jacqui Simon, who transferred from UCLA during her freshman year, leads the team with five assists.
The match will begin at 7 p.m. at Meredith Field.
“I have no idea how tomorrow’s going to go, but we’re going to start as many seniors as we can for as long as we can,” Stumpf said.