The Gauchos dropped their first road game of the season yesterday with a 2-1 loss at UC Irvine. The loss snaps an eight-game unbeaten streak in Big West play for Santa Barbara (5-7-2 overall, 2-1 in the Big West). The Anteaters (7-5-1, 1-1 in the Big West) started the scoring off early, ending a string of passes with a shot from freshman forward Tanya Taylor that beat senior goalkeeper Katie Wright in the eighth minute. The loss leaves the Gauchos disappointed, especially considering their hot start to the Big West season.
“The basics are we lost even though we played very well again as far as possession,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “We were not very effective in and around the goal. Unfortunately that’s a bit of a theme for us, but we’re going to work on it.”
The Gauchos answered in the last minute of the first half when freshman forward Jacqui Simon set up freshman forward Kailyn Kugler. Kugler, who scored three goals last week for the Gauchos, kept up her hot streak and sent the Gauchos into the locker room with an even score. However, it wouldn’t last as UCI came storming out of the break with a goal in the 46th minute. The game-winner came off a pass from senior midfielder Frankee Kelly, who found Taylor again for her second goal on the night.
The Gauchos got more bad news aside from just the loss, as junior forward Michelle Russell injured her ankle in the sixth minute and had to leave the match.
“Unfortunately, it looks like we are going to be without Michelle Russell for awhile,” Stumpf said. “We lost our big junior striker, and that really hurt us.”
Last Thursday the Gauchos gave up a 1-0 lead late in the second half to lose to Pepperdine in a non-conference match at Harder Stadium. Santa Barbara was beaten again by a two-goal scorer as Waves forward Emily Wynne scored two goals in the final nineteen minutes. The Gauchos’ goal came in the 33rd minute when a corner kick by Kugler was deflected to the feet of sophomore midfielder Sarah Stoltz. Stoltz’s shot made it through the crowd in the box for the score. However, the goal was the only one in a frustrating day for the UCSB offense.
Pepperdine almost scored first when a Waves forward got past Wright, who came sliding out from the goal. The net was wide open until senior defender Katrina Wright came storming in to block the shot and keep the match scoreless. Wynne started by picking up a rebound from Wright and chipping it into the back of the net. Wynne then delivered the winner in the 80th minute off a perfect pass from senior midfielder Amanda Rupp.
The Gauchos have their final non-conference match of the season on the road this Wednesday with a match against Santa Clara.