A win on Friday would have been the first in over a decade at UC Irvine for the UCSB women’s soccer team. For much of the match, it looked like Santa Barbara would be able to accomplish its goal.
However, the Anteaters had a different plan in mind, as senior midfielder Kelsee Pottorff delivered a heartbreaking 102nd-minute goal which propelled her team past the Gauchos, 2-1 in double overtime.
The loss leaves UCSB with an 8-5 overall mark on the season and gives them its first Big West loss of the campaign dropping them to 1-1 in conference play. UC Irvine improves to 6-5-1 overall and the year and remains undefeated in league with a 2-0 mark.
The match was as highly contested as the score would indicate. Once the dust settled both teams had 16 shots with nine on goal for the home team and seven for the visitors.
For much of the first half, the two teams were deadlocked. In the 15th minute, the Gauchos had a free kick from outside the box but were unable to do anything with it.
In the 18th, UCI put a shot on goal but junior goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese made one of her seven saves on the night to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0.
Finally, in the 38th minute, UC Irvine broke the score open as Elizabeth Hutchison delivered a nice, high cross into the box which senior midfielder Shelby Lee converted into her first goal of the season. The ‘Eaters would take the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Coming out of the break, UCSB was firing on all cylinders offensively. In the 48th minute, junior forward Shaelan Murison tallied her eighth goal of the year to tie the game at 1-1.
Murison, who came into the game having made none of her last seventeen shots, scored her first goal since September 14th. She is the team’s leading scorer by six goals.
After that, the rest of the second half would be as tough as the first with both teams trading shot on goals but each goalie making great saves to keep their teams in the game. DeWeese made a notable save in the 66th minute stopping a strong header.
Junior ‘Eater goalkeeper Maddie Newsom also had a heck of a game tallying six saves on the evening and moving into fourth all-time in program history for most saves in a career. Her fifth save in the 86th minute was perhaps the biggest of the ball game setting up overtime.
In the extra period, again the teams traded shots. Murison missed one high in the 93rd. The teams would head to a second portion.
That is when UCI’s Pottorff became a hero for her team. Newsom, on a free kick from around midfield, booted the ball into the box. The ball bounced past a UCI head and then Pottorff tracked it on the bounce and knocked it past DeWeese into the net giving her team the 2-1 win.
— UCI W Soccer (@UCIwsoc) October 6, 2018
It was the senior’s first goal of her entire career and it was an important one as not only did it help win the game, but it now keeps UC Irvine in the driver’s seat in the conference.
For UCSB, Friday’s heartbreaking loss will not be an easy thing to shake off, but considering its next match is against the undefeated Highlanders at UC Riverside, it really does not have a choice.
One conference loss is not the end of the world, but if the Gauchos can’t dig deep and upset the Highlanders then they may be in some trouble heading into the rest of their league schedule.
Sometimes the best way to get over a tough loss is to get back out on the pitch as soon as possible. Maybe that will help UCSB. It better, considering they face the Highlanders in less than 48 hours.
UCSB takes on UC Riverside at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 7th at UC Riverside Soccer Stadium.
Jorge Mercado is the current Editor in Chief and was a Sports Editor before that since freshman year. He prefers to be called Merk as that was his nickname given to him by the gods. Sometimes, his evil twin Mork appears. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.