The UCSB women’s club field hockey team went against all odds to conjure up an upset victory over rival Cal Poly last weekend and capture the league championship. The Gauchos first took down UC Davis 2-1 on Saturday before fighting to a 1-0 victory over the top-ranked Mustangs.
Santa Barbara headed into the four-team weekend tournament seeded second, setting up a semifinal game against third seed UC Davis. The Aggies struck first with a first-half goal that put them ahead going into halftime. However, it was a 10-second stretch in the second half that would decide the game for the Gauchos.
UCSB sophomore forward Kendall Jasco put the Gauchos on the board in the second frame to tie the game at one. The score would stay tied for the amount of time it took junior forward Jaimie Wallace to race down the field after play resumed and score from the shooting circle for the 2-1 lead. Santa Barbara would never look back, as the Gauchos held the Aggies off the scoreboard the rest of the match, earning a chance to play four-time defending champion Cal Poly for the title.
The Mustangs took a different path to the championship game, winning their first match of the day due to forfeit, allowing the squad to rest before playing a UCSB squad that had already played a competitive match. In addition, the contest was a home game for the Mustangs. Cal Poly had already beaten the Gauchos earlier this year and Santa Barbara was without one of its best players in junior midfielder Lauren Perry.
“I knew going into the game that everyone was tired,” said senior captain Joanna Klein. “But after the Davis game, everyone had the mentality that we can beat Cal Poly. We set our team goals and just tried to work on certain things.”
The Gauchos came out with nothing to lose, and managed to get a goal from senior forward Kelly Cefalu on a scramble in front of the net to put UCSB on the board. The Mustangs and Gauchos fought a close, tough battle the rest of the way, and the game ended with the same 1-0 score, giving Santa Barbara the victory.
“I’ve always had confidence in our team,” said Klein. “I knew we could beat them, and we did.”