The UCSB women’s field hockey team played this Saturday at Cal Poly to a 0-0 tie and defeated Pepperdine 10-0 on Sunday.
Despite unsatisfactory conditions that UCSB Head Coach Abbie Gaylord described as “a very large home-field advantage,” the Gauchos shut down the Mustangs’ offensive game.
“[The grass was] two feet tall,” senior Stephanie Lucca said about the field conditions at San Luis Obispo.
Gauchos Beth Loveless, Melissa Low, Courtney Miyamoto, Kori Jenkins, Katrina Saville, Jenny Patterson and Leslie Burke played excellent defense to hold their opponent to a shutout. Cal Poly failed to take a single shot in 70 minutes.
Cimmie Olszewski, Jenkins, Lucca and Janelle McDonnell took several hard shots on goal. Junior right midfielder Katy Smith barely missed one scoring opportunity as her opposing goalie made an excellent save.
UCSB concentrated on their passing game. Although the field provided an extra obstacle, juniors Kelly Utsumi and Smith and senior Paige Delong dominated on the right side.
“Everyone touched the ball, [and we] worked on our short game and [moving] the ball up field,” Lucca said.
As a defender, Patterson enjoyed “watching the girls’ [passing game]” from the back of the field.
After Saturday’s deadlock, Santa Barbara was ready to take on the Waves at home at the Pit.
UCSB was “ready for a good game,” Gaylord said of her players, preparing for the battle against Pepperdine.
The contest on Sunday was the Gauchos’ last home game of the season. Gaylord started all her seniors: Jo Szafirski, Lucca, Delong, Jenkins, Loveless, and Low.
Olszewski started UCSB’s 10-0 scoring run on a reverse shot assisted by Delong. The team finished the half up 4-0.
Gaylord plugged in her players in different positions for the second half since UCSB was obviously dominating. She played her seniors on the forward line while the team continued to scrap for goals. With 20 minutes remaining in the game, the score had already reached 10-0. Gaylord had her players focus on passing rather than scoring for the remainder of the contest.
One player described the game as “bumble bee field hockey.” The Gauchos’ opponent was chasing them and the ball around. UCSB kept the ball on their sticks and had strong, clean passes.
“[The game was] good practice for the upcoming championships [next weekend],” Lucca said.
Santa Barbara will host the Club Sports Championship Tournament this weekend. The Gauchos are looking to win back-to-back championships.
UCSB plays UCLA at the Pit at 8:30 a.m. The Gauchos then travel back to Harder Stadium to face Cal Poly at 11:00 a.m. and Pepperdine at 1:30 p.m. Games on Sunday will be based on each team’s performance Saturday.