The UCSB women’s lacrosse team’s hopes for an undefeated season were crushed Friday after a 9-5 loss to rival Cal Poly at Rec Cen field.
“I think [the loss] will help us in the long run,” junior Katie Wolsson said. “I think we’ll go into games with a better mentality, expecting it to be our hardest competition.”
Playing in their 15th and final game of the regular season, the Gauchos were hoping to secure a #1 seed in postseason play and a perfect record by taking out the defending national champion Mustangs.
After 13 minutes of play, the game was tied 1-1, but it was at the 16:22 mark that Cal Poly began the onslaught. The Mustangs ran off three consecutive goals in a span of four minutes, forcing UCSB to take a timeout at the 12:16 mark.
Coming out of the timeout, the Gauchos looked to be more aggressive on offense, but after a turnover with 9:12 remaining, Cal Poly increased its lead to 5-1. The Mustangs stayed hot, scoring a goal one minute later and another at the 4:59 mark, increasing the UCSB deficit to six.
The Gauchos knew they had to turn up the intensity in the second half to make a game out of it. UCSB came out firing, scoring in the first minute of the second half to make the score 7-2. The Gauchos’ surge continued just one minute later as they were able to capitalize on a steal, shrinking the deficit to four goals and getting the crowd back into the game.
The game quieted down for a stretch until the 15:31 mark when the Mustangs got their first goal of the second half. Just two minutes later, Cal Poly got on the board again, increasing its lead to 9-3 with 13 minutes remaining. Santa Barbara needed a late surge to pull of a miracle comeback, but, despite two late goals, they came up short and lost 5-9.
The game was a disappointing end to a stellar season, but the Gauchos will be ready next week when playoffs start.
“I’m really confident just because we have great team camaraderie,” Wolsson said. “A lot of the teams we will be facing we have played already this season. Losing this game, I think, will make everyone want to come out and justify our ranking.”