The UCSB women’s lacrosse team ran out of time against Cal Poly on Thursday night, dropping a 9-6 decision to the Mustangs at Harder Stadium.
After falling behind 8-2 early in the third quarter, the Gauchos went on a four-goal run to pull to within two early in the fourth. However, a series of late UCSB mistakes and stifling defense by the Mustangs stopped the run. Cal Poly sealed the deal with an insurance goal in the final minutes as the Gauchos fell to 8-4 on the year.
“They got in our heads in the first half, but in the second half we came back and showed that we’re not a step behind Cal Poly,” Gaucho Head Coach Diana Garcia said. “The girls really wanted this game; they know they’re right there with this team.”
The game stayed close in the opening quarter, with Cal Poly scoring two of their first three goals after Gaucho penalties. Senior Katie Gong scored a goal late in the first to pull within one before Cal Poly put away three quick goals to take a 6-2 lead. The Gauchos could not seem to take advantage of their opportunities, committing mental mistakes that led to easy scoring chances for the Mustangs.
The two Mustang goals that opened the third quarter sparked the UCSB comeback effort. Playing like a different team, the Gauchos shut Cal Poly down on defense and scored four goals of their own. The referees waved off a fifth score, which would have pulled UCSB within one, because the Gaucho player’s stick was over the goal line.
The Santa Barbara fans in attendance shouted obscenities at the referees, causing them to threaten to call the game. Security quieted the fans down. There were no further incidents during the game.
The Gauchos have one final regular season game Saturday at 1 p.m. against Cal Poly Pomona. Pending the outcome against Pomona, UCSB has a good chance of seeing Cal Poly again in the Women’s Western Lacrosse League playoffs, held April 22 to 23.
“Most likely we will see [the Mustangs] again in the playoffs,” Garcia said. “I think both teams know it’s competitive, and we’ll see both teams come out with a lot of energy if we meet again. I think we’ve been building momentum all season, and if we play the kind of game I know we can play, we can beat them in the playoffs.”