On Friday UCSB midfielder Krystal Sandza scored both of her team’s goals in a 2-0 shutout. On Sunday she broke a UCSB record with five goals in a game. And finally on Monday, Sandza indulged herself in the ancient art of yoga.
“I really don’t put too much pressure on myself,” Sandza said after a week of epic proportions.
The sophomore from Poway, Calif. may have just dished out two of the most dominating performances of her career, but don’t tell her that. Described by her coaches and teammates as incredibly open, honest and accepting, you could never tell that Sandza had just kicked her way into the Gaucho record books.
“She’s one of the most selfless and nicest girls,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “She is a great friend of all the girls on the team.”
Sandza, whose five goals on Sunday against Air Force Academy shattered the record of four held by eight previous players, is having a remarkable sophomore campaign after being named first team All-Big West Conference in 2001.
With 16 goals in only 11 matches this season, Sandza has climbed to eighth on the all-time UCSB single season scoring list. With two more scores, she will pass Phronsie Franco, who knocked in 18 in 1990. Sandza is also making her way up the career goals list. Her 23 goals in her first season-and-a-half have already placed her seventh on the list. She is right on pace to move all the way to fourth by passing Trisha Kimble Butterbaugh with 29 this season.
“She’s such a hard worker that it makes you work even harder,” sophomore forward Jen Borcich said of her teammate. “She has amazing foot skills and she just schools people. She’s a really creative and smart player, and she leads by example.”
Sandza is very qualified in leadership by example. In high school, she won two national championships with the San Diego Surf club team. The Surf advanced through the state, regional and national championships in 2000 and 2002, leaving Sandza just enough time to prepare for her college season.
However, Stumpf believes that it is not just Sandza’s experience that has propelled her to where she is now.
“She made a conscious decision in the last few months to work very hard this season,” Stumpf said. “But she could still dominate even if she did just coast.”
Sandza, who lives with Borcich and teammates Molly Martin and Holly Owen, attributes her recent offensive explosion to a rigorous off-season training schedule and heightened goal setting.
“Over summer, my housemates and I followed our coach’s workout packet and ran everyday,” she said. “It was a great way to stay in shape. We made it a really big goal this year to make the NCAA tournament.”
UCSB narrowly missed winning the Big West Conference title last year and receiving an automatic berth in the tournament. A late season loss to Cal State Fullerton smashed the Gauchos’ hope of advancing. This year, though, UCSB and its coach are confident about their chances. Stumpf, who was turned on to Sandza by her club coach, said he had no idea how important Sandza would be until he actually saw her on the field.
“The thing that really piqued our interest in Krystal was when her club coach told us how well she played in big games,” Stumpf said. “But until we watched her every day out here, we had no idea how good she was. She’s wonderful.”
Luckily for UCSB, Sandza is only a sophomore and will provide her team with offensive fireworks until 2004. After that, while the Gauchos may lose a star, Europe might gain one.
“One of the main reasons to work so hard all year is because you have to be in great shape to play after college and I would love to go play in Europe,” Sandza said. “I’m open to anything. I don’t really know what I’m going to do after college, but any possibility is a good possibility.”