There is never any question that the general is in charge.
Casual spectators who may have caught a glimpse of a UCSB women’s lacrosse game would have no problem locating the commander in chief on the field this season. Blessed with a combination of speed and strength that is unmatched, junior attacker Katie Gong led Santa Barbara in scoring this season because of her determination and courage.
“I just try to get things done right,” Gong said. “I’m not always the player that will finish the play, but I try to create as much as I can for the team.”
Gong never backed out of a challenge in UCSB’s most prolific season in school history. Voted First Team All-American and First Team Western Women’s Lacrosse League (WWLL), Gong was also voted Offensive MVP at the U.S. Intercollegiate Associates National Championships in Blaine, Minn., earlier this month. She helped lead the Gauchos to a 19-2 record, a WWLL title and the top seed at nationals.
Opponents aimed sharply for the Gaucho captain, always gunning for the bull’s-eye placed on the back of Santa Barbara’s most prized possession.
Gong played through injury and wore her cuts and bruises as a badge of pride. While others would sidestep defenders, Gong went through them and forced the game to bow to her command. Gong leads by example, her confidence dictating the flow of the game. Impervious to defeat, Gong challenged herself more than the women in different uniforms.
“She’s a very strong player and she never gives up,” sophomore midfielder Shanna Mota said. “Her heart and dedication always inspired us to work harder than we thought we could.”
For Gong, an art studio major at UCSB, the lacrosse field is emblematic of her canvas; each strike on the net as deliberate as every stroke of the brush. Stoic and determined, she appears more comfortable in the chaos. Control is her mantra, and the tune she hums, echoed by her teammates, is earsplitting for opponents.
“She has such a wide vision, and we know that what she was creating was something special,” Mota said. “She paints a perfect picture for us and we love to follow.”