The UCSB women’s lacrosse team took the penultimate step toward an undefeated season Sunday, beating UCLA 10-7 at the Pit. Sophomore Brooke Julicher scored three goals, and sophomore Shanna Mota added two goals and an assist to pace UCSB as the Gauchos ran their record to 14-0 with one game remaining.
“We really wanted this game; it was really huge for us,” Julicher said. “UCLA is one of the top teams in our league, and one of the best teams in the nation.” Six Gauchos scored en route to the victory, but it was UCSB’s passing game that kept the Bruins on their heels.
“We really worked together as a team, and did a good job spreading the field and maintaining composure,” Head Coach Diana Garcia said. “The girls really kept their heads in the game.” UCSB jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and kept pouring in the goals, leading 4-1 at the half. They started the second half strong as well, scoring three goals to earn a 7-1 lead before the Bruins went on a four-goal run to pull to within two. However, the Gauchos shut UCLA down over the final minutes and scored an insurance goal to clinch the win.
“Our team’s camaraderie and sheer will to win were what did it,” Julicher said. “We have better chemistry than any other team, and we did the little things that make the difference.”
Next up for the Gauchos is archrival Cal Poly, who also happen to be the reigning national champions. Despite Cal Poly’s lofty status, Garcia and the Gauchos are confident going into Friday’s game.
“I think our chances are pretty strong. We’ve played them twice now, so we know what we’re up against,” Garcia said. “As long as we maintain our composure under the pressure, I think we’ll play pretty well.” A 15-0 season would give the Gauchos a #1 seed in postseason play, and knocking off the defending national champions would surely be a confidence booster. Garcia says she feels that her team is peaking at the right time and should be very strong going into the playoffs.
“I’m pleased with the level of our play right now,” Garcia said. “I think there’s definitely room to improve – some things we can work on before the playoffs – but overall, I’m really happy with the level this team is playing at.”
The Gauchos’ final game of the season will be Friday at 7 p.m. at the Pit against the Mustangs.