One goal was how close the UCSB women’s soccer team was from making its first Big West Tournament appearance since 2009. After giving up a goal in the first half, UCSB could not find an equalizer against UC Davis, losing 1-0 in the final game of the regular season and having its season end on the road.
UCSB finishes the regular season with a record of 9-9-1 overall and 3-5 in conference, ending on a three-game losing streak. The loss is even more heartbreaking for the Gauchos considering the team only needed a win to get into the playoffs and lost all its conference games by one goal. UCSB did however win all its games by way of shutout, the first time in program history that has occurred.
The year was a comeback season for the Gauchos as they finished the season tied in sixth place with nine total points. They surpassed last season’s win total by four and recorded their most wins in a season since 2009. UCSB’s biggest improvement was on defense, allowing only 17 goals in 19 matches this season, compared to last year when it allowed 29 goals.
UCSB was at a disadvantage coming into the game, missing key players junior Indiana Mead in the midfield and freshman Sydney Fuentes on defense. Taking advantage of the injured Gauchos, Davis came out and took control early on, outshooting UCSB 7-1 in the half.
Despite getting its chances, Davis’ goal in the 27th minute came more on a fluke play. Freshman forward Ashley Kawasaki scored on an empty net when sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter collided with one of her own players, leaving the net open.
UCSB failed to generate any more opportunities and went into the half losing 1-0 but the collision knocked Ritter out of the game and freshman Jacq Caginia stepped in before halftime.
Knowing it needed a win to stay alive, UCSB turned up the intensity in the second half. Santa Barbara was attacking more in the second half and getting more shots off. By the end of the half, the Gauchos had a 9-2 shot advantage.
The one goal was still too much for UCSB to overcome as the Aggies settled in on defense and kept the Gauchos from seriously attacking UCD’s net.
The Gauchos lose their leading scorer in forward Allie Ariniello and three starting players on defense (Taylor Gehring, and Paige and Lindsay Gankema) to graduation. However, UCSB has a lot to look forward to going into next year; the team returns junior midfielder Madison Beckley who also led the team in scoring.
Defensively, the Gauchos will return experienced underclassmen as well as sophomore goalkeeper Ritter who had the most shutouts in the Big West (8) and finished second in save percentage (.826).
The Big West Tournament begins later this week with Cal Poly, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Cal State Fullerton qualifying.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of November 4, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Magali Gauthier of The Daily Nexus.