While originally setting out to make up for its recent losing streak on the road, the UCSB women’s soccer team could only manage a 1-0 loss to Gonzaga on Friday and an end to the losing skid with a 1-1 tie against UC Davis on Sunday.
In Friday’s contest, the Gauchos (2-5-4 overall) controlled the ball for most of the game and out-shot Gonzaga (6-4-1) 17-7. However, a cross by Gonzaga in the 41st minute managed to get through the Gaucho defense and find forward Cristin Leverson, who then scored the only goal of the match for the Bulldogs. Few of Gonzaga’s shots were a legitimate threat and Gaucho junior goalkeeper Katie Wright put up only two saves. UCSB Head Coach Paul Stumpf said the result was frustrating, but the team’s play was not.
“They took seven shots, we took 17. They took one corner kick. We took 10. We were clearly the more aggressive team,” Stumpf said. “We played so well, but we were just snake-bitten once again. I don’t think the result matched how we played at all.”
In the wake of Friday night’s loss, Santa Barbara controlled the ball less in Sunday’s game at Davis but came away with a tie. A trickling goal in the second minute left UCSB behind right off the bat, but it managed to answer with another goal midway through the half. The match finished without any more goals, and the Gauchos were left with their fourth tie of the season.
“Friday night we were much sharper,” Stumpf said. “Our decision making was good. [On Sunday] it was a very disappointing start. We didn’t look prepared mentally, but we gathered ourselves nicely.”
Sophomore defender Rachael Ritchey said that, aside from the start, UCSB played well but just could not close out the game.
“Today we definitely didn’t come out hard at all,” Ritchey said. “Davis had a really bad goal. We played well in the back and it was a really aggressive game. It was frustrating to tie to someone who didn’t earn it.”
Finishing has been a problem for the Gauchos so far this season, but it remains their focus as the team gets ready to open conference play this weekend.
“I felt that we’ve had the better chances; we just can’t put it away,” Stumpf said. “We really know what we need to work on, so we are going to be spending a lot of time practicing inside of the box.”
One positive to take away from this weekend’s home game was the crowd participation, Stumpf said. He said that having fans in the stands rooting for the Gauchos makes a huge difference. Junior defender Kandice McLaughlin also said that playing at home with a good crowd makes the team play better.
“I have a huge ‘thank you’ for the Gaucho Locos, they brought an environment,” Stumpf said. “I have to give a lot of credit to them.”
The Gauchos will see if their hard work will begin to pay off as they play their first conference game against Long Beach this Friday at 7 p.m. in Harder Stadium.