With a trashed field, horrendous traffic on the way, and ash falling from the sky, not even the most gifted soothsayers could have predicted what happened to the # 9 Gauchos at Cal State Fullerton during last weekend’s loss.
“We have no excuses. They showed up. We didn’t,” said senior forward Neil Jones.
“People just didn’t want it, I guess,” said junior defender Tony Lochhead.
And, of course, leave it to Coach to hit it right on the head.
“Well, certainly you’re disappointed when you don’t play well. When that happens, you have to re-evaluate yourself and fix the problem,” Head Coach Tim Vom Steeg said. “That’s what my job is. It’s never one exact thing. You have to separate excuses from not playing well.”
Clearly, after the 4-1 thrashing they were dealt, it must have been more than one thing. Top 10 teams shouldn’t spontaneously combust like the Gauchos did. The loss was their first conference loss since 2001, a streak that is now deceased at 14. The outcome wasn’t the most surprising part; it was the fashion in which the Gauchos lost.
There was no rhyme or reason to why a far inferior Fullerton team scored goals in droves on a team that plans to bushwhack a path through the postseason. Offensively and defensively, Santa Barbara now finds itself struggling to maintain any consistency. Jones and junior forward Drew McAthy have now been held scoreless for two consecutive games while the back line has allowed a very un-Gaucho like 11 goals in the past five contests.
“It just didn’t really happen for us, I don’t know,” Lochhead said. “When it was one-all, we should have been fine. Usually when we get the equalizer we never look back.”
As far as the rest of the Big West is concerned, UCSB is fair game now. The loss didn’t only scar a perfectly good record, it threw the Gauchos right back into Cal State Northridge’s reach. UC Irvine will take the next stab at the brooding Gauchos, who will take to the home field tonight at 7.
“We’re definitely looking forward to it. I feel sorry for them. We’re a pretty angry team right now,” Jones said.