UCSB returns to Cal Poly tonight at 7, and this time it’s personal.
First-place Santa Barbara (9-4-1 overall, 4-0-0 in the Big West) will finally have its chance to avenge a 2-0 loss to its rival Mustangs (6-2-4, 2-1-1 in the Big West) last November in the Big West Tournament finals that sent Cal Poly on to the NCAA Tournament and the Gauchos home for the season.
“It’s our rival and we need to redeem ourselves,” senior forward Jennifer Borcich said.
UCSB has reason to be confident going into tonight’s grudge match. Besides being tied with Northridge for first place in the Big West, the Gauchos have gone 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and have put 28 points on the board, compared to their allowed 16 goals on the season.
A major contributor to the offense this season has been Student-Athlete of the Week Borcich, who scored the 50th and 51st goals of her career this past weekend and is the third highest all-time goal scorer at UCSB. Borcich has 10 goals this season heading into tonight’s game.
“She has scored in every game so far; not only is she scoring goals for us but she is wearing teams down. Notice that most of our goals are coming in the second half,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said.
Unfortunately for Santa Barbara, Cal Poly will be no pushover. Besides going unbeaten against UCSB last season, the Mustangs began this season on the right foot with a 2-2 tie with #3 Santa Clara.
The Mustangs began their 2004 conference season with a 2-0-0 start but have recently dropped to fourth place after suffering a road loss and tie to Fullerton and UC Riverside, respectively, last weekend.
“They have only given up eight or nine goals on the year and they’re a very well-organized, tough team,” Stumpf said.
The Gaucho defense will also play a chief role in their bid to remain unbeaten in Big West play, as they have allowed only four goals in their past nine games.
Even with junior goalkeeper Jamie Considine out with an injury, the UCSB defense did not miss a step, or a save for that matter, as freshman goalkeeper Catherine Burson filled in for Considine in both victories and recorded nine saves. Considine’s status is questionable for today’s game.
“We need to make sure that everyone is playing defense; it doesn’t just consist of those four people in the back that are called defense but everybody working together as a team on defense” senior defender Cinthia Ruiz said.