After securing an impressive 3-0 win over Idaho University in its home opener, the UCSB women’s soccer team will be on the road for its next five outings beginning with a Sunday matchup against San Jose State.
“The travel might take a little bit of wear and tear on us physically,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “So it’s going to be a really good challenge playing some really good teams.”
“For us, it is important to get those road trips done before school starts to help our really young, academically gifted ladies to relieve a little pressure off them once they’re back in the classroom,” Stumpf said.
The Gauchos head into Spartan Soccer Complex boasting a 1-0 record while the Spartans host having lost their first game of the season 2-1 against No. 24 Santa Clara. This game will be SJSU’s home opener, a place where it boasted an impressive 6-1-2 mark.
UCSB holds a 5-2-2 overall record against San Jose State dating back to the teams’ first meeting back in 1995. The two squads last met in 2015 which ended in a 1-1 tie at Harder Stadium. Now junior Mallory Hromatko scored her first career goal against the Spartans in that match two years ago.
Second half rallies seem to be a key for Santa Barbara in both of its exhibition matches and its first regular season game of the year. UCSB has outscored opponents 7-2 in the second half including scoring all three of their goals in the win against Idaho.
Another consistent the Gauchos will hope to keep relying upon is the play of senior Amanda Ball. The forward scored two goals in the teams’ opener and now has 19 career goals in her career in just 41 games played. Ball also scored a goal in the teams 3-1 exhibition win over North Texas.
Ball movement, in general, will also continue to be a factor for Santa Barbara as it held possession over Idaho 65 percent of the game and managed to have nine different Gauchos register a shot.
Junior goalkeeper Brittney Rogers will also look to keep riding her hot streak after registering two saves in her first shutout win of the season.
Despite coming off a loss, there is no doubt that the home Spartans are still riding high off a solid performance against a team that is nationally ranked.
“They definitely are a team that comes to play and they have conceded very little to their opponents but they haven’t scored a ton so I think this one will be more of a chess match instead of a physical bout which suits us,” Stumpf said.
Trailing 1-0 for most of the match, San Jose finally scored the equalizer in the 51st minute courtesy of senior midfielder Yvette Cuellar’s first career goal. Cuellar, who is coming off an ACL tear, is regarded to be one of the team leaders for this years Spartans squad.
Goalkeeper Ana Calero also played exceptional in spite of the two goals allowed in her first start of the year. As a freshman, Calero received the bulk playing time in the cage starting in 10 matches conceding 15 goals and tallying a 7-4-1 record. The sophomore had 10 saves against Santa Clara marking nearly 1/3 of her total from all of the last season.
Other notable players to be wary of on the San Jose State side is senior forward Dorthe Hoppius who led the team in goals (8), shots (66), and points (21) last season as well as senior midfielder Yaritza Arista who assisted Cuellar in her goal against Santa Clara.
To be a successful squad, winning on the road is a necessity. Last season away from Santa Barbara, the Gauchos struggled only tallying a 3-4-2 record, however, all three road wins were against non-conference opponents. This year, fans will get a good early look to see how the team deals with being on the road, especially when faced with a road trip as long as this one.
Santa Barbara takes on San Jose State at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 20 at Spartan Soccer Complex. The game can be streamed on the Spartans official athletic site.