The UCSB women’s soccer team hopes to keep the ball rolling in its final road stretch of the regular season this weekend.
And with a better road record (4-3-0) than home record (3-3-1), things could play out quite nicely for the Gauchos.
Santa Barbara will start out at Irvine on Friday in a 7 p.m. matchup on a night the Anteaters intend to break their attendance record. The two squads will be in the presence of greatness as five members of WUSA’s San Diego Spirit will be there as part of a promotion for the league. From there, UCSB will head over to Long Beach State on Sunday.
Although every game is important in the short season, Santa Barbara has reached a point in its season where any game can either make or break its hopes for the postseason.
“With only five games left in [the Big West], every game is extremely important for us,” senior captain and midfielder Kathryn Fox said.
UCSB (7-6-1 overall, 3-1 Big West) is currently in a tie for fourth place in the Big West with Long Beach State (4-8-1 overall, 3-2 Big West). Both teams have nine points, while Irvine (6-5-1, 3-1-1) is a slot above with ten points. The Gauchos, however, have had the upper hand in past contests with Irvine, owning a 12-3-1 past record against the Anteaters. History aside, this will be a big game for both teams.
“Our two wins last weekend really helped the team’s confidence,” freshman midfielder Molly Martin said. “Now we need to keep that confidence and try to stay focused on getting a couple wins this weekend. It’s a very big weekend for us.”
The Santa Barbara newcomers have really paced the Gaucho offensive attack this year. After only tallying 19 goals on the entire year last season, UCSB has already notched 22 goals in 14 matches. Of the 22 goals, 14 have been scored by Gaucho freshmen.
Freshman forward Jen Borcich has been on fire in her last seven games. After opening her collegiate scoring onslaught with a hat trick against Westmont on Sept. 10, she has been unstoppable, scoring a total of six goals in the last seven games. Borcich has also compiled five assists in that same time span. Fellow freshman midfielder Krystal Sandza has also come on strong for UCSB, with five goals and two assists under her belt.
One thing that is a concern for the Gauchos is their second-half complacency. Most of their goals on the year have been scored in the first half. A less intense playing style has become apparent in games when they go up by a goal in the first half. So far, UCSB has been able to survive the second half by holding many opponents scoreless; however, the Gauchos must be able to put together two strong halves to compete for the Big West title.
“After we score, our intensity drops,” junior defender Katie Wilson said. “We have been playing well in the first half, but we need to be able to string together two halves to get where we want to be right now.”