The UCSB women’s lacrosse team ended their season with a bang, beating Pomona 11-4 in the Gauchos’ final game of the regular season. Senior attacker Katie Gong scored four goals; senior midfielder Emily Preiss and senior defender Sarah McIntosh added two goals apiece. In addition, senior attacker Andrea Poetzsch added a goal and two assists as the Gauchos outscored Pomona 7-1 in the second half.
“We started out a little shaky, but we pulled ourselves together,” junior midfielder Brooke Julicher said. “We started transitioning the ball better, and we took care of this team they way we should.”
UCSB started out fairly well, spreading the ball in a well-balanced attack that powered them to a 4-3 halftime advantage. The Gauchos took control in the second half, asserting themselves on defense as they allowed Pomona only one more goal in the final thirty minutes of play. In that same time period, Gong, Preiss and McIntosh took over on offense, putting the ball in the back of Pomona’s net to the cheers of the sizable crowd of Gaucho faithful in attendance.
“We definitely have a lot of depth,” Julicher said. “When one of our so-called top scorers is having a bad game, we have people who can step up. We’re very good at meshing and molding together; we have a lot of good scorers, and a lot of girls who can defend well.”
It was Senior Day for the Gauchos, and the seniors represented themselves well, scoring the majority of the team’s goals and playing most of the minutes. Afterward, the team celebrated with bottles of champagne for each graduating player.
“We have eleven seniors, so it was a nice day to celebrate, the last game at home that a lot of us will have,” Julicher said. “It’s nice to celebrate the girls who make up a lot of the experience of our team, as well as the majority of our numbers.”
With so many key players graduating from a very competitive squad, the Gauchos will look to their younger players to fill some large shoes. Fortunately, the Gauchos have a bevy of underclassmen ready to fill the void, as well as a reputation for being a well-accomplished and respected lacrosse program that should bring in a good freshman class next year.
“We have more people graduating than usual, but the girls that we’ll have next year are solid, and our B-team is getting better,” Julicher said. “Also, people in California know that this is a good school for lacrosse at this level, so we always get good recruiting.”
With the regular season over, UCSB looks ahead to the postseason, which begins next weekend. The Gauchos will go in at the #2 seed, setting them up for a possible finals rematch with #1 Cal Poly.
“We feel pretty good; the only team that we’ve lost to in this bracket is Cal Poly,” Julicher said. “It’s the last leg for us; we don’t want to blow it, so we’re glad to end on a high note.”