After two doubleheaders this past weekend, the UCSB women’s field hockey club team is ready for a much deserved rest.
Santa Barbara scrimmaged LA Club on Saturday at Moorpark College before battling UCLA at 11 a.m. and Cal Poly at 2 p.m. the following day at Harder Stadium. UCSB held off the Bruins 2-0 and settled for a 0-0 deadlock with the Mustangs.
With two wins already under its belt from previous matchups against UCLA and Pepperdine, the women’s squad came into the weekend focused.
“We went into this weekend just focusing on playing our game. We were all really excited to get to play on turf at Moorpark,” sophomore co-captain and left defender Lesley Burke said.
Sunday’s games provided for some heart-stopping action, especially during the second half against UCLA when Gaucho senior forward Cynthia Chang scored about 15 minutes into the half.
“I was definitely impressed with how the girls played,” first year Head Coach Kori Jenkins said. “They really pulled it together as a team.”
Both teams increased their intensity while UCSB protected its 1-0 lead. However, UCLA would eventually falter after Chang drilled another goal from an assist by co-captain and senior forward Kellie Utsumi with minutes ticking off the clock. Following a scramble for the ball before Utsumi’s goal, the crowd burst into excitement with UCSB ahead 2-0.
With the minutes washing away, the Gauchos maintained their composure to continue to play the game that Jenkins-a former Gaucho player-wanted them to play. Jenkins is not the first Gaucho alumnus to become a coach for the field hockey team. Last season, Abbie Gaylord, who played the year before, became Santa Barbara’s helmsman.
“I basically wanted the girls to focus on maintaining possession and having patience,” Jenkins said.
With one win under its wings for the day, the squad looked forward to its matchup against Cal Poly, only a few hours away. The players’ focus and determination remained consistent from the game’s start, and UCSB dominated early.
“Cal Poly, [who] is our biggest rival, has definitely improved since last year,” Utsumi said. “They have more skills, are able to move around more and are a lot better at hitting.”
A gut-wrenching moment occurred during the second half when a stroke was called against UCSB in front of the goal. A stroke is similar to a penalty kick in soccer, where a player gets a free kick on the goalie. UCSB freshman goalkeeper Abigail Lucca saved the ball and forced the game to go to a 0-0 tie.
Lucca and fellow freshman goalkeeper Ashley Jones had never tended the goal before this season.
“Abigail did an awesome job, especially for a freshman who had never been involved in a stroke before,” Burke said.
After two very heated and exciting games, the Gauchos look ahead to their matchups this upcoming weekend at UC Davis on Saturday and at Stanford on Sunday. The following weekend, UCSB will play University of the Pacific on Saturday in Palo Alto. That Sunday, Santa Barbara will lock horns with Cal Poly for another rival match.
“Stanford and UOP are big competition for us because they are Division I schools and they are able to play on turf all the time, while we are used to playing on grass,” Utsumi said.
The Gauchos will also gear up for the Club Championships Tournament held at UCSB in Harder Stadium on Nov. 9-10. The Gauchos hope to improve their game on turf, focus more on playing their own game, and of course, they really want to beat up on some Division I schools.
“This week we are really going to work on our defensive skills and patience with the ball,” Jenkins said. “We want to incorporate more of our long ball game with our short ball game.”
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR SPORT CLUBS:
Fencing- Oct. 27- @ UC Irvine
Field Hockey- Oct. 26- @ UC Davis
Oct. 27- @ Stanford
Rowing- Oct. 26- Head of the American Regatta- @ Lake Natoma, CA
Rugby- Oct. 26- Grunion Reunion- @ Chase Palm Park
Sailing- Oct. 26-27- PCIYRA Women’s Fall Championships @ Stanford
Surfing- Oct. 27- #1 Southwest Conference Competition- @ Ventura [California St. (Pipes)]