This is the last weekend for the UCSB women’s soccer team to hammer out the kinks in its armor before the return of Big West action.
The Gauchos (4-4) are looking to get back on track after they saw their winning streak snapped last Sunday with a 2-1 loss to Fresno State. Coming down to challenge UCSB is Sacramento State (3-5). The Hornets, who are coming off a 4-0 loss to #21 St. Mary’s and fighting a 1-4 road record, will try to slip a win past Santa Barbara.
“At this level, there are no easy games,” UCSB Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “Both games this weekend should help us prepare for conference.”
Leading Sacramento State’s squad is junior standout Lisa Wrightsman, who has already compiled nine points on four goals and an assist in eight games. Her four goals account for half of the goal production for the entire Hornet team thus far in the season.
“We definitely need to play our game against these two teams,” freshman midfielder Molly Martin said. “We need to really concentrate on our pressure defense.”
On Sunday, the squad will head down south to take on Pepperdine in the final game of its pre-season schedule. Pepperdine (5-0-4) is riding high after a 2-1 victory over Long Beach State. The Waves will try to keep their tide rolling on Friday when they match up against San Diego State; Pepperdine will then host the Gauchos on Sunday afternoon.
Kristi Bissonnette and Kate Desmond are two potent offensive threats for the Waves. Bissonnette has taken 13 shots on goal this season, connecting on five goals, while also handing out two assists for a team-high 12 points. Meanwhile, Desmond ranks second in points with six, including two goals and two assists.
Both Sacramento State and Pepperdine will have their work cut out for them against this Santa Barbara team. Though they couldn’t convert the Fresno State trip into a win, the Gauchos are playing some of their best soccer. Freshman forward Jen Borcich has gone on a scoring tear, registering a combined four goals in the last two games. Borcich and the rest of her teammates will look to continue this scoring trend in the games this weekend. Along with scoring, pressing defense is another key to Santa Barbara’s success.
“To be successful against these teams this weekend, we need to stay solid defensively and put away chances up top,” said senior goalkeeper Mary Gleason.
The Gauchos’ game against Sacramento State begins tonight at 6 p.m. at Harder Stadium.