The toughest competition for the UCSB women’s soccer team this weekend will be with the road.
Santa Barbara (6-5-4 overall, 1-2-2 in conference play) will travel to Pacific today and Northridge Sunday for Big West Conference matches.
“One of the toughest things our team has to deal with is that this is a road trip,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “I’m not as concerned about the other teams sometimes so much as with the adversity that comes with travel.”
Last weekend, Pacific (3-2-1, 4-9-2 overall) shut out Riverside, 3-0, while the Highlanders blanked the Gauchos, 2-0. The Matadors, on the other hand, are coming into Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. match on a four-game losing streak. Both Northridge (1-5-0, 3-9-3 overall) and UCSB are looking to end their respective winless streaks.
“We haven’t won a game in almost a whole month, but we’ve played extremely well and the team’s attitude has stayed the same,” Stumpf said. “We just have to step up and get results from here on out.”
Tiger freshman forward Carmen Padilla leads the young Pacific team with seven goals on the season. Freshman goalkeeper Laura Guerin faced 17 shots and made nine saves, contributing to the Tigers’ shut-out over Riverside.
Northridge is 2-3-1 at home this season and has faced a deficit going into halftime eight times. Five of those eight matches resulted in a loss for the Matadors and Santa Barbara will look to take advantage of Northridge’s allowance of early goals.
Senior Matador midfielders Shannon DeVos and Cindy Mallett are players the Gauchos must be aware of on the field. DeVos has nine career goals putting her fourth all-time in the Northridge record books while Mallett is currently tenth with five goals.
“We really like to focus on what we do and what we do well,” Stumpf said. “We are going to play so that we will make teams adjust to us.”
Santa Barbara is on a six-match winless streak, splitting those games between ties and losses. What makes the losses and ties even more heartbreaking is that the Gauchos went into overtime in five of those six matches. Only two of UCSB’s last six games have been on the road while three of its total five losses have been played on fields other than Harder Stadium.