UC Santa Barbara club soccer brought home both the men’s and women’s 2007 National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association Collegiate Sport Club Championships, which were played this past weekend in Pensacola, Fla.
“It was great because every team we played had knocked us out in championships before,” senior defender Joe Ferreira said. “We could not have written a better script even if we tried.”
The UCSB men’s team (15-1-1 overall) entered their pool play Thursday undefeated and continued their streak with a 3-0 defeat of Augustana before losing to Texas Tech, 2-1. The initial victory qualified the Gauchos for the elimination phase, where they defeated both Vanderbilt and Weber State by the same 1-0 score.
Reaching the semifinals, after getting sent home last year in the quarterfinals, UCSB faced a tough Illinois team, a finalist from the 2006 tournament. After the teams fought to a 1-1 draw, the Gauchos prevailed 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout. Santa Barbara faced off against Texas Tech for the second time in the championship match. In the 30th minute, UCSB midfielder Amir Kazemi received his second yellow card and was ejected, but the Gauchos were able to get the game into penalty kicks where they easily won, 4-1. Goalkeeper Mike McAndrews was tremendous, blocking two shots.
“He was playing in another level,” Ferreira said. “He walked over and told us he would block two [penalty kicks] and kept his word and blocked two in each game. He helped us relax.”
The UCSB women’s team (10-1-1 overall) started Thursday’s pool play on the wrong foot by losing its opening game to Michigan State, 2-1. However they bounced back and won their next two games against Cornell and Texas A&M, followed by a 3-1 victory over Michigan. A shootout victory over Penn State put the Gauchos in the finals, where they faced off against San Diego State, the defending champions.
Without hesitation, Santa Barbara went on the board in the first minute with a goal by Allie Browne, but the Aztecs retaliated and evened up the score in the 23rd minute with a 30-yard shot by Cassidy Runyan. The game went into penalty kicks and UCSB goalkeeper Emily Ottiniano blocked two shots to wrap up a 4-1 shootout victory and give the school dual club champions.
Both squads had multiple players selected for the All-Tournament Team. For the men, Armando Flores joined MVP Joe Ferreira and Most Outstanding Goalkeeper Mike McAndrews. The women had Daniela Espinoza join MVP Allie Browne and Most Outstanding Goalkeeper Emily Ottiniano. It is also the first time that any school swept the soccer championships since Texas Tech in 1997.
“It says a lot of our school; lots of guys come here in aspiration to play in the [Division I] team. It says a lot of the quality and depth of the school, men and women combined,” Ferreira said. “It meant a lot for everybody to win both championships and it probably won’t happen again; it’s pretty special.”