In the two weeks prior to finals week of last quarter, the players of the UCSB women’s lacrosse club were not focusing solely on preparing for their finals. The Gauchos were also busy defeating three opponents in two weeks. On March 7, the Gauchos beat #20 Chico State 12-6. The next day, they beat #2 Santa Clara University 12-4. The following weekend, they had just one game left to play before they got time off for finals week and Spring Break. That last game, a UCSB 18-10 victory, came on March 14 against #14 Pepperdine.
“All three [teams] had something they were doing that caused us to make adjustments,” Head Coach Paul Ramsey said. “But once we bring everyone in during a timeout or at half-time to make those adjustments, we’ve been effective out on the field. The team is getting better at playing with each other as well as they’re getting better at taking the adjustments we make and doing something with them.”
So far, all but two of the games the Gauchos have played that count toward their record have come against ranked opponents. With a grueling schedule that has grinded away at the team’s endurance. However, Ramsey believes that, in the case of his team, it helps to keep the players pumped for each game.
“Playing a competitive schedule is what helps to keep everyone sharp,” Ramsey said.” We get much more excited for the better teams. I don’t think it would be good to have a bunch of unranked teams lined up in front of us.”
So far, it seems to be working, and, on March 25, the Gauchos’ efforts were finally rewarded. Last Wednesday the latest WDIA National Top 25 poll was released, and with it came the news that Santa Barbara had supplanted the University of Colorado for the #1 spot in the poll. Previously, Colorado had been ranked #1, while UCSB was #2. Both teams are 11-2, and they have yet to face each other. Though Ramsey is happy that his team took the top spot, he wishes that it had come in a different way.
“It’s nice to be considered #1 by your peers, but I was thinking it would be better to beat the #1 team to become #1 so I wasn’t really all that excited about it,” Ramsey said.
The new ranking will not change the Gauchos approach to the rest of the season. From the beginning they have played all out no matter the circumstances, and that is how they will continue to play.
“We’re not really going to change anything,” Ramsey said. ”Our focus will remain on making hustle plays, winning ground balls, winning draw controls and defending all over the field.”
The season will resume for UCSB this weekend when they travel to Stanford for the Western States Tournament. They are scheduled to play against #24 University of Texas and #14 Michigan State on Saturday, and then against #23 University of Oregon on Sunday.