After charging out of the gates to start 2005 conference play by trouncing Irvine, the UCSB women’s soccer team could not avoid a couple unlucky bounces in Long Beach, landing it a weekend split to kick off the Big West season.
The Gauchos (7-7 overall, 1-1 in the Big West) started off the weekend with a perfect Big West record, shutting out Irvine (3-10-1 overall, 0-3 Big West) by a score of 3-0 on the road Friday.
Junior forward and co-captain Allie Kueny got things started when she finished off a cross from freshman midfielder Katie Smith in the ninth minute of play. Just five minutes later, Kueny delivered a corner kick that landed the Gauchos another goal after a deflection landed in front of freshman forward Genelle Ives. Sophomore defender Katrina Wright finished off the scoring for the night in the second half to make it 3-0.
“In the Irvine game we just came out really assertive and aggressive, while the early goal helped our confidence,” junior midfielder Darci Gwartz said. “Our struggle has been [getting the third goal] and we finally got it and just put them away.”
Although the Gauchos got two goals in the first fifteen minutes at Irvine, their luck would not carry onto the pitch Sunday in Long Beach.
“Going into conference is like going into a brand new season, so it was nice to get those two early goals [against Irvine],” head coach Paul Stumpf said. “[Against Long Beach] the goals were hard to come by, but splitting on the road wasn’t terrible for us.”
The 49ers’ hot recruitment class – ranked #15 in the nation – got the best of Santa Barbara on Sunday. Freshman midfielder Hayley Bolt notched two more goals against the Gauchos to give her six on the season.
“Hayley Bolt got two goals and was just a really good player from top to bottom,” Stumpf said. “If they’ve got ten wins, you know they’re pretty good; nothing really surprised us [from Long Beach].”
Sophomore midfielder Nicole Remmenga scored the Gauchos’ lone goal off of a cross from Gwartz to even the score in the 27th minute at one goal apiece.
UCSB held onto that momentum for the rest of the first half, out-shooting the 49ers 7-5. Yet, the Gauchos could not capitalize on any more scoring opportunities for the rest of the day.
“Today’s game was a battle and both teams has great opportunities [to put the ball in the net],” Gwartz said. “We unfortunately didn’t put our chances away and they got a couple of lucky bounces and we didn’t come out on top.”
A missed call on a handball in the Long Beach penalty area with ten minutes remaining and the 49ers leading 2-1 helped snuff any Santa Barbara hopes of salvaging a tie.
With just the one goal difference at the time, the uncalled penalty kick could have been the equalizer and the spark the Gauchos needed to steal a tie on the 49ers’ home field.
“I went ballistic,” Stumpf said. “The referee missed an obvious handball, which would have at least given us a [chance].”
With its two wins this weekend, Long Beach (10-3-1 overall, 3-1 Big West) set new program records for both home wins and overall wins in a season and took care of #20 Cal Poly, the defending Big West champion, Friday.
“The Long Beach fans were out in force [on Sunday] and it provided a little spark for them,” Stumpf said. “If we win three of the next five then we’re in the conference tournament and it’d be great to get a little help from the [fans] here at home.”
The Gauchos return to action Friday at home at 7 p.m. against Riverside.