Falling one game shy of a Big West crown can make any team anxious to start the next season on the right foot.
For a UCSB women’s soccer team returning nine of 11 starters and its top five scorers, including sophomore forward and 2001 Big West Offensive Player of the Year Jen Borcich, the 2002 season should be an optimal time to take care of unfinished business. Borcich torched the conference with 11 goals, seven assists and 29 points.
Five matches into 2002, the Gauchos hope to make waves in the Big West while putting their best foot forward against non-conference teams. Santa Barbara finished 7-2 and 11-7-1 overall in 2001, one game behind Cal State Fullerton. Santa Barbara, standing 2-2-1 at press time, hopes a sluggish start does not foreshadow a trend that will last the rest of the year.
In their most recent game, the Gauchos succumbed to Oregon State 2-0 at Harder Stadium on Sept. 15. Two first-half goals boosted the Beavers and sent UCSB reeling to its first shutout loss. Santa Barbara tied San Francisco in double-overtime in its first game and lost at San Diego 4-2. The Gauchos bounced back in the next two matches, stomping Texas Christian 3-1 and Liberty 4-0 at home.
UCSB vs. San Francisco, Aug. 30 at Harder Stadium.
Borcich, last season’s Big West Freshman of the Year, notched two goals against the Dons in a 2-2 deadlock. Santa Barbara blew a 2-0 halftime lead, enabling USF to score a pair of late goals at 70:01 and 78:45.
Neither squad could nail in the game-winner in the two overtime sessions, although sophomore First-Team All-Big West midfielder Krystal Sandza nearly scored in the final minute of the second overtime. Sandza blew past the defense and went one-on-one against Don goalkeeper Jennifer Orantes. Sandza’s shot went right of the post and UCSB settled for one point and the tie.
Borcich scored 1.5 minutes into the match and at 18:44 on an assist from sophomore forward Erin Griswold.
_ UCSB at San Diego, Sept. 1.
The Toreros blazed past the Gauchos with three goals in a 4.5-minute flurry in the opening half. Goals by Stefanie Baines, Brenna Mullen and Rebecca Smith gave USD all the punch it needed in a 4-2 victory.
Santa Barbara pulled to as close as 3-1 near the end of the first half at 42:47 with a goal by Santa Barbara City College junior transfer Alma Martinez. San Diego forward Lee Ann Klopschinski tacked on her squad’s final goal eight minutes into the second half. Borcich scored her third goal of the season in the 79th minute.
_ UCSB vs. Texas Christian, Sept. 6.
Sandza punctured the Horned Frogs with a hat trick to propel the Gauchos 3-1 over TCU for Santa Barbara’s first win of the season. Sandza nailed her first goal off a pass from senior midfielder Erica Perrotta 6:20 into the first half. The shot hit the post and deflected back into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Lake Forest, Calif. native scored her second goal with a straightaway at 24:58 on a pass from Borcich. Sandza’s third goal also came on an assist from Borcich at 78:45.
UCSB vs. Liberty, Sept. 8.
Sophomore forward Erin Griswold contributed two goals and Sandza chipped in another goal and an assist in a 4-0 thrashing of Liberty. Sandza’s outstanding efforts for the weekend – four goals and an assist – helped her glean Big West Player of the Week honors. Sandza leads the Big West in goals and currently stands at second in total points in the conference with 10, one point behind teammate Borcich.
-Nexus Staff Report