If Halloween is not reason enough to party, the UCSB women’s soccer team can now celebrate the end of the season as the Big West Co-Champions.
After conference leader Long Beach State lost to UC Riverside on Sunday, the door was left open for the Gauchos (7-6-6 overall, 5-1-1 in the Big West) to take their share of the title. Santa Barbara’s 2-1 win at Cal Poly (9-6-3, 3-1-3) last night gave UCSB the three points it needed to tie Long Beach (14-4-1, 5-1-1) for the championship.
“We have never beaten Cal Poly at home, it’s a tough place,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “They played very well, Cal Poly is a quality team and it was a good game. I would have enjoyed watching it as a spectator without the emotional attachment.”
The Gauchos scored first in the match when senior forward Allie Kueny received the ball on a quick transition. Kueny drove and passed to sophomore forward Genelle Ives, who was left with only the goalie to beat. Ives touched the ball once and blasted a shot toward the goalie, who got a finger on it, but could not stop the ball from finding the net for Ives’ seventh of the season.
“The first goal came off a quick counter, Allie Kueny passed it inside to Genelle Ives,” Stumpf said.” She had one touch at the goalkeeper and ripped it passed her.”
Cal Poly knotted the match early in the second half, but UCSB kept working. A Mustang defender poorly cleared a corner kick, and junior defender Kandice McLaughlin rifled one in for the winner. The win marks the Mustangs’ first loss at home since the first game of the season back on Aug. 25.
“It was a missed clear off a corner kick and Kandice drove it,” Stumpf said. “A lot of people would have gotten excited and missed it, but she kept her composure and just drove it.”
The win against a rival like Cal Poly is the perfect ending to the conference season, especially after having such a rough early season. With its unbeaten streak extended to seven, and having only given up three goals during that span, Santa Barbara is very confident about heading into the postseason.
“Starting conference off with a 2-6-4 record, and once again playing really good soccer, but not getting results, I think that a lot of people would have folded,” Stumpf said. “I think it says a lot about the character of this team that they kept working hard. We have a lot of momentum. We have some confidence. We are playing teams that we’ve seen now, we can look at some film, and it’s a chance for our team to get more games in because they want more games. It’s the postseason, and it’s extremely exciting.”
Since the Gauchos lost to Long Beach early in the season, they will be the number two seed in the four-team Big West Tournament this week in Long Beach. Once the numbers are crunched, UCSB will find out if they play either Cal State Fullerton or Cal Poly in the first round. Two wins f