With their Big West Tournament hopes on the line, the UCSB women’s soccer team defeated the Cal State Fullerton Titans 2-0 at Titan Stadium Sunday night, thanks to goals by senior forward Jacqui Simon and senior midfielder Kailyn Kugler.
“We dominated possession, dominated shots,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said.
With the win, the Gauchos improve to 8-8-2 overall and 3-4 in Big West play. The Titans fell to 6-11-0 with a conference record of 3-3.
“[In the first half] we were dominating the whole time,” senior forward Erica Seidman said.
The Gauchos outshot the Titans 6-1 in the first half, constantly threatening to score. Simon and Kugler displayed their teamwork throughout, passing the ball between them until Simon was able to put a ball into the top left corner of the net off a cross from Kugler to give UCSB its first goal.
The Titans came out with an offensive mindset in the second half and outshot the Gauchos 8-1, including one by Titans player Kaitlyn Mendoza, which would have been dangerously close to scoring had it not bounced off of teammate Casey Volk.
“Our defense definitely [was key],” Seidman said. “Everybody [contributed], it’s a team sport.”
On a play later in the half, Kugler was able to score again thanks to an assist by senior forward Kylie McDonald. With Titan defenders occupied with stopping McDonald, Kugler took advantage of the opportunity.
“They swarmed McDonald,” Kugler said. “She saw me and heard me.”
McDonald then passed the ball to Kugler, who took the Gauchos’ lone shot of the second half, and sank it into the left side of the goal.
Kugler’s goal was her seventh of the year and elevated her to sixth place for all-time goals in the Gaucho record book.
“It’s very exciting,” the senior said. “Quite an accomplishment.”
To make the Big West tournament, which begins on Nov. 4, the Gauchos will have to win their game against Cal Poly on Friday and hope for losses by Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State. Though the odds are slim, the Gauchos still have the chance to making the Big West tournament and salvage what has been a subpar season so far.
“It’s exciting that we have a chance,” said Kugler.