It was a night of missed opportunities for the UCSB women’s soccer team as it came up on the losing end of a hard fought match against Cal Poly on Saturday.
A goal near the end of the first half by the Mustangs was the difference as Cal Poly (5-8-1 overall, 3-1 in the Big West) edged the Gauchos (5-8-3, 2-2 Big West) 1-0 in front of the home crowd at Harder Stadium. Saturday night’s game marks the third time in the last four games that UCSB has come up on the losing end by just one goal and is also the fourth consecutive game Santa Barbara has come away from without a win.
“We have now played exceptionally well in the last four or five games, but we have nothing to show for it,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “This is a result-oriented environment, and if you don’t get the results unfortunately at some point that confidence starts to get chipped away.”
Both teams were active defensively in the first half, with neither team getting a shot off until the 14th minute when UCSB senior defender Katrina Wright, who, along with her fellow senior teammates, was honored before the game, got a shot on goal that was stopped by Mustang senior goalkeeper Alli Tramel. Tramel made another save later in the half off a shot from junior midfielder Sami Svrcek; the two saves in the first half were Tramel’s only saves of the entire game.
“We took fifteen shots but only two at the frame,” Stumpf said. “So squandering opportunities to at least hit the frame and make her save it was critical.”
The first half remained relatively balanced until the 42nd minute when Cal Poly senior midfielder Erica Zumbahlen made a remarkable shot from the right sideline that hit the crossbar and made it into the net. The unassisted goal was the first of the season for Zumbahlen, and it sent the Mustangs into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.
“A little bit [of the loss falls] on luck,” Stumpf said. “I don’t think the goal that they scored was meant to be a shot I think it was a cross that came off her foot a little funky and it just happened to find the back of the net.”
The Gauchos had plenty of opportunities to tie the game in the second half as they out-shot Cal Poly 6-4, but they could not seem to get any good looks at the goal. UCSB put in a solid effort defensively, holding the Mustangs scoreless and forcing senior goalkeeper Katie Wright to only make one save in the half. The first half goal proved to be the difference as Cal Poly walked away with a 1-0 victory that will give them an edge in the conference standings.
“We have just got to find a way to solve some problems in and around the box where we can get better looks at the goal,” Stumpf said. “But I would say one of the strengths that these girls do have is that they are very resilient… They can reset and go forward.”
UCSB will have a busy weekend of play as it travels to Stockton to face the University of the Pacific (6-6-3, 1-3-1 Big West) on Friday and then returns to Santa Barbara on Sunday to face Davis(8-9-0, 1-4-0 Big West) in its final home match of the season.