There are two ways to look at the UCSB women’s soccer team’s 2-2 double-overtime tie with #19 Cal Poly (12-1-2, 3-0-2 in the Big West). One would be to chalk it up as its nightmarish 0-3-3 showing in its last six games. The other way credits Santa Barbara (6-5-4, 1-2-2 in the Big West) with an outstanding display against a nationally-ranked program that has only yielded six goals to opposing teams all season.
Gaucho junior forward Randi Johns fed the ball to junior midfielder Krystal Sandza, who smoked it past Mustang senior goalkeeper Greta Shirdon from 15 feet out for a 1-0 advantage after only two minutes of play. Santa Barbara riddled the Mustang defense with 12 shots in the first half, but Shirdon buckled down and swatted away eight of them.
Cal Poly junior midfielder Erin Martin had only Gaucho sophomore goalkeeper Jamie Considine to beat in the 16th minute and got past her, but UCSB sophomore fullback Heather Allen was there to kick it out of bounds and save the lead. Five minutes later, Martin blasted a hot shot from 30 feet out that Considine gobbled up for one of her three first-half saves.
The Gauchos committed all 11 of their players to scoring an insurance goal to close out the first half, evidenced by their two shots in the final minute of play. After Santa Barbara junior forward Jen Borcich attempted to connect with senior forward Alma Martinez from the left side, the Mustangs cleared the ball to freshman forward Sharon Day. Day raced up the field, attempting to beat the clock, and fired a pass to senior forward Alexa Jontulovich, who dribbled left and tied the game at 1-1 with only four seconds remaining in the half.
“We hadn’t been catching any breaks lately,” UCSB Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “At the end of the first half, we were thinking, ‘Here we go again’.”
Cal Poly broke out of halftime with a rush similar to the Gauchos’ quick score to open up the game, as Day beat three UCSB defenders and launched a shot. Considine blocked the ball and couldn’t hang onto it, but sophomore defender Katie Cooper stood between the posts and deflected Day’s second shot to preserve the tie. The Mustangs poured on the pressure late in the second half and Martin drew Considine out of the goal with a quick breakaway shot, but Considine deflected the ball with her right hand. Seconds later, though, with four minutes on the clock, Cal Poly junior midfielder Megan Gurney lofted a corner kick that bounced off three Mustang heads before sophomore defender Sierra Simmons directed it into the goal for her first score of the season.
Suddenly down 2-1, the Gauchos hustled the ball to Martinez on the left side of the field. Martinez sent a hard shot into Mustang junior midfielder Heidi Spink’s face, controlled the deflection and centered the ball to Borcich, who pounded the game-tying goal home just inside the left post with 2:43 remaining in regulation.
The Mustangs out-shot the Gauchos in extra frames, 6-0, but neither team came up with a score. With 58 seconds to play in the first overtime, Cal Poly sophomore forward Becky Clark kicked a lob shot that forced Considine all the way back to the goal line, where she leaped and made the save to keep Santa Barbara’s hearts beating. Gurney set up a corner kick situation in the second overtime mirroring the one that led to the Mustangs’ second goal, but Considine jumped high again, making her eighth and final save of the night.
“Maybe we turned a corner with that goal late in regulation,” Stumpf said hopefully of leaving the winless streak behind. “In the past five seasons, we’ve only scored one goal against Cal Poly, and tonight we scored two. We’re one of only three teams to keep the Mustangs from winning this season, and that is a great place from which to build.”