Big West women’s soccer defensive units should beware; UCSB Head Coach Paul Stumpf has a triple-threat offensive attack and he’s not afraid to use it.
Junior forwards Jen Borcich and Randi Johns and midfielder Krystal Sandza are potent shooters, already amassing 17 balls in the net in the Gauchos’ 14 games this season.
“It’s pretty fair to say that when other teams do scouting reports, these three girls come up all the time,” Stumpf said. “Other coaches constantly talk about the threat.”
The Gauchos came into the season depending on the one-two punch of Borcich and Sandza. However, Cypress College transfer Johns entered the mix, creating an offensive attack that is difficult to beat.
Borcich was named First Team All-Big West in both her freshman and sophomore years, as well as 2001 Big West Offensive Player of the Year.
“JB [Borcich] is awesome,” Johns said. “When she gets a good shot, it’s always going to go in.”
A prominent name on many of Santa Barbara’s all-time lists, Borcich’s 28 total career goals ranks sixth and her point total of 70 ranks eighth. Borcich attempted 133 shots in her first two seasons, the ninth most in UCSB history.
Sandza, also on a plethora of UCSB’s all-times lists, ranks fourth in goals scored with 32 and seventh in total points with 75. A midfielder who started all 39 games of her first two seasons, Sandza ranks sixth in total shots with 157.
“Krystal [Sandza] is amazing,” Borcich said. “She makes really good runs.”
Sandza was named 2002 Big West Offensive Player of the Year in addition to receiving First Team All-Big West honors both her freshman and sophomore years.
Johns, a newcomer to Santa Barbara, scored 42 goals at Cypress College, the fourth highest in that school’s history. She was chosen All-Region both her freshman and sophomore seasons in addition to being named Orange Empire Conference MVP both seasons at Cypress.
“She is a very high intensity player with a lot of emotion,” Cypress College Head Coach Ray Haas said. “She always challenges the opponent and has a style of play that is hard to duplicate because few players are willing to play at that level.”
Together, Borcich, Johns and Sandza create an attack opposing teams are beginning to familiarize themselves with.
“People know where the ball’s going. We try to separate the group space-wise, so we let them work their magic solo,” Stumpf said. “There’s not really anyone who can stay one-on-one with these players for 90 minutes solo.”
According to Stumpf, each of the three has their own particular magic. Sandza, an exceptional ball handler, is always changing up her play.
“You never know when she’s going to pull something off,” Stumpf said. “You can’t tear your eyes off the game.”
Borcich takes a leadership role on the field.
“Jen [Borcich] is a blue-collar, hard-working athlete with a passionate mentality,” Stumpf said. “If you ever need someone on your side, Jen is the one you want on your team. Her intentions are always for the best of the group.”
A quick runner, Johns brings a more technical style of play to the team.
“She is a true attacker with an extra gear when it comes to speed,” Stumpf said. “Randi [Johns] also has a great defensive mentality.”
UCSB’s triple-threat attack has an effect on how other teams prepare to face the Gauchos.
“Our offense dictates the way other teams come out and play us,” Stumpf said.
Despite their popularity as feared offensive forces in the Big West, all three girls acknowledged the rest of the team as major contributors to their individual success.
“It’s really the whole team [working hard],” Johns said. “If we didn’t have everyone else out there, we wouldn’t even be recognized.”