The UCSB women’s soccer team dropped an important conference match to Riverside 2-0 at home last night despite dominating virtually every aspect of the game – except the number of goals scored.
Santa Barbara (6-5-3, 1-2-1 in the Big West) out-shot the Highlanders (8-4-2, 2-1-0) 28-8 during the contest but couldn’t penetrate the UCR defense to finish its countless opportunities. The Gauchos controlled the flow of the game from the outset, winning most of the 50-50 balls and commanding the overall time of possession.
But with 7:23 to play in the first half, Highlander Kelly Hurley lobbed a ball from over 30 yards out that fooled UCSB sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Considine . The ball hit the crossbar, immediately shooting down to unintentionally deflect off Considine into the net.
“It was a really nice goal,” Hurley said of her game-winner. “We just wanted to win though. It really didn’t matter who put it in as long as we won.”
It seemed as though one goal wouldn’t be enough to secure a victory for the Highlanders. The Gauchos poured onto the field with a load of offensive fury in the second half. Connecting beautiful passes and hitting the crossing runners, UCSB was knocking on the door for the equalizer all night long. The ball was down in UCR’s half for much of the period, demanding a great deal of effort from an exhausted attacking unit for Santa Barbara. Late in the game, at the 88:38 mark, the Highlanders broke the Gaucho press and found Danica Pommerenck with a one-on-one situation that she easily slipped by Considine.
“[The Gauchos] are a really good team. They have a lot of speed and we were just able to put the ball away when it mattered,” Hurley said. “At the end of the game, the scoreboard said 2-0, and that’s all that matters.”
Junior forward Jennifer Borcich fired seven shots Sunday night. The 2001 Big West Offensive Player of the Year rifled a couple of shots that just barely missed the net. Junior midfielder Randi Johns dominated the right side for most of the night, crossing the ball into the zone and launching three shots.
“It’s hard to get a shot off when there’s so many of them in there,” Johns said. “We’ve been training really hard, we just didn’t finish our chances.”
The loss drops Santa Barbara deep down in the Big West ranks. With only the top four teams qualifying for the Big West Tournament , the 7th ranked Gauchos will need to snag wins against the leading conference contenders to bolster their chance at a postseason. Cal Poly (3-0-1 in the Big West) and Utah State (3-0 in the Big West) currently top the conference charts.
UCSB faces the Mustangs next Sunday at 7 p.m. at Harder Stadium. The Gauchos need a win against the defending conference champions to keep pace with the rest of the Big West. Santa Barbara knows that if it can get into the Big West tournament, conference foes like Riverside will have a tough time snagging victories against the Gauchos twice in one season.
“It’s always about revenge. It will make the game much more fun,” Johns said.