Despite facing one of the nation’s toughest teams with a battered roster, the UCSB women’s soccer team left Santa Clara unscathed with a 0-0 double overtime tie. The Santa Barbara defense held strong despite giving up 16 shots over 110 minutes.
Senior goalkeeper Katie Wright helped the Gauchos break their two-game losing streak with six saves on a stellar night. Sophomore forward Kiki Bosio led the Bronco barrage with seven shots in the evening, three of which would have been goals had Wright not been around.
“[Katie] had a great night,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “In addition to all the saves, she had to come out and punch the ball a few times and deal with some good corner kicks and crosses.”
Wright was helped by a Gaucho back line that played excellently for the whole night. The quartet of seniors Katrina Wright and Kandice McLaughlin, junior Rachael Ritchey and freshman Julia Speace played for a full 110 minutes without giving the Broncos any free looks at the goal. Despite heavy pressure coming late in the second half and heading into overtime, these four kept UCSB alive.
“Our defense did a great job of dealing with all of the pressure; they really didn’t get great looks,” Stumpf said. “Our entire back four were stellar tonight. Those four played every minute without a complaint or hiccup.”
Leading the offense for Santa Barbara was junior midfielder Sami Svrcek who played the full game and tied for the top of the UCSB score sheet with a pair of shots. The stats don’t tell the full tale though, as Svrcek played fiercely on both sides of the field and was in the thick of the action no matter where the ball was.
“[Svrcek] was phenomenal,” Stumpf said. “I don’t use that word very often, but I will regarding her performance tonight. She was sprinting box to box and her decision-making and ball control were excellent. Santa Clara is one of the top 10 teams in the country and I can honestly say that Sami was one of the best players on the field tonight.”
With the loss of junior midfielder Michelle Russell to an ankle injury last week, UCSB needed to find replacements. A pair of freshmen midfielders, Kate Mogannam and Jacqui Simon, split time quite successfully. Simon even almost scored the game winner in overtime when she headed a pass from freshman forward Kailyn Kugler, but unfortunately she headed it over the crossbar.
“We were getting 70, 75 minutes out of Michelle, and that’s a big spot to fill,” Stumpf said. “We are now going with Mogannam and Simon, and I think it’s going to work out well.”
The Gauchos needed a solid performance to bounce back from last week’s pair of disappointing 2-1 losses, and last night they got it. Their sixth shutout of the year came against arguably the best team they’ve faced this year, and that kind of success is what gives a team the momentum to stay in the hunt.
It’s a big boost, but come Saturday night its still 0-0,” Stumpf said. Cal Poly doesn’t care that we stood our ground against Santa Clara, they are going to be coming at us just as hard.”