The top ranked UCSB women’s lacrosse team defeated No. 10 Chapman University on Saturday at Harder Stadium 16-7 in what may have been the team’s best game of the season. With the victory, the Gauchos improve to 11-1 overall, while Chapman falls to 11-3.
“Every single girl on our team played to their potential,” senior attacker Maegan Cruse said. “It was truly a game where we played for each other rather than worrying about the final outcome.”
UCSB led 8-0 at halftime and was able to outscore Chapman again in the second half 8-7. The primary goal for Santa Barbara heading into the game was to use strong defense against Chapman and take down its top two scorers, which the Gauchos were able to do.
“At practice we had been working on defense to double and slide to ball, especially on two of their top scorers,” senior midfielder Megan Dawe said. “We really shut them down and our goalie made some great saves.”
The Gauchos succeeded in taking down Chapman’s leading scorer sophomore Tory Wilkinson, who had been averaging more than five goals per game. At the end of the game Wilkinson was only able to walk away with 2 goals scored against the UCSB defense .
Senior goalie Jeni Centner proved to be an excellent defender against the Panther offense. Overall, Centner saved 65 percent of Chapman’s shots and made 13 additional saves. The UCSB defense also executed the game plan very well by doubling up on each player and breaking down the Panther offense.
Offensively for the Gauchos, Cruse was at the top of the score board, accountable for four goals and one assist for a total of five points in the game. Freshman attacker Lindsay Alex added three goals and two assists for a total of five points as well.
“Everyone just played a really good game and supported each other,” Dawe said. “No one player carried the team, but it was a great team effort.”
The 11th win for the Gauchos placed them first in Western Women’s Lacrosse League Central and earned the squad an automatic qualifying spot for the WWLL Championship Tournament. The next game for the Gauchos will be at 12th ranked Santa Clara this Saturday, April 14 to end the regular season.