In their final exhibition match and first time back at Harder Stadium, the Gauchos women’s soccer team managed to shut out crosstown rival Westmont 2-0. The Gauchos’ offense relentlessly attacked the opposition and their defense limited the Warriors’ goal-scoring attempts in a great all-around effort.
UCSB got out and attacked early, as they put seven shots on goal in the first 22 minutes of action before senior Shaelan Murison got behind the keeper and scored to put the Gauchos on the board first in the 26th minute. Santa Barbara did not have to wait long to get some more offensive production as they extended their lead thanks to junior Angelica Ortega’s goal at the 40-minute mark, assisted by sophomore forward Jessica Wright.
The Gauchos coasted into halftime with a comfortable lead and a dominant half of soccer under their belt. UCSB’s ten shots compared to only one for Westmont showed the clear advantage that the Gauchos held on both sides of the ball and it was a trend that continued for the rest of the game as Westmont only managed one shot on goal for the entire match.
Head Coach Paul Stumpf used this exhibition as an opportunity to spread around the playing time amongst players, and with a comfortable 2-0 lead, it proved to be the perfect time to get some of the reserves and younger players into the game.
The first major substitution made came right after the half, as sophomore Natalie Hill relieved the starting goalkeeper, senior Hanna DeWeese. Hill remained in goal for about 23 minutes before freshman keeper Evann Smith relieved her and played out the final 22 minutes, where she recorded the team’s only save of the night.
The rest of the starters remained in the game until the 54th minute, when Stumpf pulled them all to get other players some minutes.
Westmont was able to keep the game somewhat interesting as they outshot the UCSB reserves 4-1 in the final 36 minutes of action, but they could not turn any of those opportunities into goals and time expired to give the Gauchos the 2-0 win.
Murison lead the way for the Gauchos with a game-high eight shots, six shots on goal, and one goal that gave Santa Barbara an early lead. Wright finished second on the team with four shots, two on goal, and she assisted on the Gauchos second and final goal of the game. Ortega scored the second goal of the game in the 40th minute, and it was one of her two shots on the day, with both of them being on goal.
As for Westmont, there were not many shots to be had on offense, as the Gaucho defense gave them trouble all game, and senior Maddi Berthoud was the only Westmont player to have more than one shot attempt, with two. Midfielder Brooke Porter was the only Warrior to take a shot on goal, and her attempt in the 85th minute was blocked by Smith of UCSB.
Westmont’s junior goalie Gabi Haw probably had the busiest day out of any player who took the field, as she had to defend the 16 Gaucho shots and 11 shots on goal. She played the full 90 minutes and finished with nine saves and two goals given up.
This match served as a productive final tune-up before the regular season begins and the Gauchos embark on a very tough non-conference schedule. UCSB will play their next game back at Harder Stadium against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday, August 22, at 7:00 p.m.