The UCSB women’s soccer team rolled up its sleeves and got to work this weekend, showing that the Gauchos mean business now that they have begun Big West play.
Santa Barbara strutted its stuff up in Stockton Friday night by stealing a 2-1 win from Pacific on the Tigers’ home field.
“This was a great victory for us,” senior midfielder Emily Hutchinson said. “It was a really fun game and it is awesome to start off league play with a win like this.”
With the win, Santa Barbara showed that it is the quality of the shot rather than the quantity of the shots that matters most on the scoreboard. Though UCSB was out-shot by a lopsided 21-9 margin against UOP (8-4 overall, 1-2 Big West), the Gauchos were able to put two of their nine shots into the net while the Tigers only netted one, a score that came in the last 20 minutes of the game.
UCSB came on strong from the onset, playing a good game of team soccer. The team-oriented emphasis finally paid off for the Gauchos in the waning minutes of the first half when in the 44th minute of action, freshman forward Jen Borcich put one into the right side of the net for her fifth goal of the season. Sophomore midfielder Inez Oriol was credited with the assist.
“It was a great team effort out on the field [Friday],” senior captain and midfielder Kathryn Fox said. “Everyone was working so hard for each other out there, and we really played together as a team.”
There was no drop-off for the Gauchos after halftime, as they came out of the locker room in stride, securing a two-goal advantage in the first 10 minutes of second-half action. Sophomore forward Kelsey Bollinger headed a cross from junior forward Erica Perrotta past the outstretched hands of Tiger goalkeeper Megan Pickering. Perrotta notched her fourth assist of the season on the play, while Bollinger came away with her first score of the season.
Pacific would not give up without a fight, launching eight second-half shots on Gaucho goalkeeper Mary Gleason. Gleason came away with yet another dazzling performance with a season-high of twelve saves.
Gleason and the rest of the Gaucho defense were unable to stop the determination of Tiger freshman forward Kim Force in the 73rd minute of the game. On the play, Force slipped a header into the net off of a pass from teammate Ashley Dinwoodie to tally her seventh goal of the season. But that was all UOP could muster, and the Tiger comeback ultimately fell short.
“This was a huge victory for our team,” junior midfielder Jen Codington. “We know we can compete with all the teams in our league. But it was just great to actually go out and get it.”