Balance and teamwork were the key factors Sunday, when the to-ranked UCSB men’s lacrosse team put its nine-game winning streak on the line against Notre Dame de Namur (NDNU) and emerged with a 14-5 victory.
“Most of our success started on the defensive end,” Head Coach Mike Allan said. “They put up a lot of points against the other teams that they played before us. We did a good job of frustrating them.”
NDNU (2-1) was held to only five goals after scoring a combined total of 30 in its first two games. The Gauchos (2-0) were led by senior goaltender Ryan Brittain, who saved six of the eight shots taken at him. Sophomore goaltenders Mike Sherida and senior Mike Wood also logged some minutes in the net with Sheridan saving two, Wood saving one – each giving up only one goal.
Santa Barbara paired its solid defensive play with a balanced offense, boasting six players able to find the back of the net. Senior attacker Luke Wilson and senior midfielder Eric Johnson each had three. Senior midfielder Stefan Isaksen contributed two goals while handing out two assists. Freshman attacker Luke Shaw and junior midfielder, and team vice president, Nick Schooler each added one goal; Shaw handing out two assists, with Schooler tallying one.
“Both defensively and offensively, it was very much a team effort,” Allan said.
Will Patton, third overall in the Western Collegiate Lacrosse League in goals scored, with seven, and total points, with nine, showed why he is one of the team’s three captains during Sunday’s victory. Claiming two more goals and one assist, Patton also took the face offs for Santa Barbara, aptly controlling most of them.
“Patton did a great job of getting face offs for us,” Allan said.
The victory paints a bigger target on Santa Barbara’s back with every team it faces, each aiming to knock off the reigning national champs and top-ranked Gaucho squad, but the teammates don’t let the hype and pressure get to them.
“We’re not thinking about that out there,” Allan said. “I think it matters more to the other teams that we face. We know we’re going to get the best effort out of every team we face.”
Santa Barbara has won its last nine games and looks to extend its win streak this evening as the Gauchos head up to San Luis Obispo to face Central Division-leader Cal Poly (1-0) at 7:30 p.m.