The party was in Utah over the weekend for the UCSB women’s soccer team as it clinched the top seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament with a pair of wins on the road.
Having secured a place in the tournament last weekend, all the Gauchos had to do in their last two regular season games was defeat Idaho and Utah State to be the top seed. UCSB did just that, shutting out Idaho 1-0 and defeating Utah State 2-1, finishing the regular season with an impressive 12-5-2 overall (7-1-1 Big West) record.
“It’s a lot of feelings wrapped into one,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “There’s a lot of relief in getting to play the #4 team in the conference, even though, one through four, the teams are all pretty good.”
On Friday the Gauchos traveled to Idaho and faced tough weather conditions while they shut out the Vandals 1-0. The game’s lone goal came from senior forward Jennifer Borcich off of a centering pass from sophomore forward Chandi Bickford midway through the first half. The goal was Borcich’s 11th of the season. UCSB had a multitude of opportunities to add to the lead, outshooting the Vandals 16-11, but the one-goal margin was enough, as the Gaucho defense held on for the team’s ninth shutout of the season.
Friday’s effort carried over to Sunday afternoon, when the Gauchos handled Utah State with a 2-1 victory. Sophomore midfielder Lindsay Steinriede got UCSB on the board in the first half, scoring a header off a pass from Borcich. Borcich scored a goal of her own at the 78-minute mark, her second of the weekend, giving the Gauchos a 2-0 lead. A late goal by Utah State broke up the shutout bid from junior goalkeeper Jamie Considine. Despite being outshot by the Aggies 15-12, Considine recorded three saves, holding Utah State to just one goal.
“Our goal for the weekend was to keep as many goals away from the net as possible, and it worked; we only gave up the one,” Considine said. “We are feeling confident going into the tournament [and are] trying to come out with the championship mentality.”
Even though it is tied with Fullerton in the Big West standings, UCSB received the #1 seed in the upcoming Big West Tournament due to its better overall record.
“This is a special group that has really done the work,” Stumpf said. “Now they are getting to reap some of the rewards that come from going to the postseason.”