The #6 UCSB men’s lacrosse team was in action over the break, losing to Sonoma State on the road and defeating Colorado at home.
The Gauchos (6-4 overall, 2-0 Western Collegiate Lacrosse League) found themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak after losing to #2 Sonoma 6-8, but got back on the winning track by defeating #7 Colorado 14-6 on Friday.
The Gauchos’ losing streak began with a home loss March 3 to #3 Michigan in which UCSB’s defense allowed eight goals. Following the loss to the Wolverines, UCSB traveled to San Diego for the second annual First Four Lacrosse Invitational where they faced #5 UC San Diego on March 11.
Despite missing its leading scorer, sophomore Luke Shaw, Santa Barbara still controlled the tempo on the offensive end. The game looked to be in the bag for the Gauchos as they led 7-4 with 10:50 remaining in the fourth quarter. San Diego closed the gap with their pressure defense and, with just eight seconds left, tied the game at seven.
The Tritons won the face off at the beginning of overtime and scored the game-winning goal three seconds later to send UCSB home with a heartbreaking 7-8 loss.
After a finals break, the Gauchos returned to action with a road match at Sonoma on March 29. On a wet and muddy field, the teams traded goals through three quarters. All tied up at five going into the fourth, the game looked like it would go down to the wire. After Sonoma scored the go-ahead goal with four minutes remaining, the Gauchos failed to capitalize on chances to tie the game. Sonoma added an empty net goal, escaping with an 8-6 victory – the third consecutive loss for the Gauchos.
UCSB looked to end the losing skid as it returned home to face Colorado on Friday. The offense for the Gauchos was scorching early on, starting the game on a 5-0 run. The Buffalos got back in the game in the second period, rallying for three straight goals to put the score at 5-3. With an 8-4 lead at halftime, it was important for the Gauchos to have a strong second half, something that had been lacking in their three previous losses.
The third period saw a stalwart defense that held Colorado without a goal and a ninth Santa Barbara goal. With the game safely in hand, UCSB added five goals in the fourth to end the week on a positive note with a convincing 14-6 win.
With a month remaining before the WCLL Finals, UCSB looks to take the momentum from Friday’s win to Arizona this weekend as they face #15 Arizona and #20 Arizona State before facing league rivals USC and UCLA next weekend.