Last weekend the UCSB women’s lacrosse club traveled up north to Stanford University in Palo Alto to play in the Western States Tournament. The #1-ranked Gauchos took on #22 Texas and #15 Michigan State on Saturday, followed by #25 Oregon on Sunday. No matter what part of the country their opponent came from, the Gauchos came away from each game with the same result, and ended the tournament with three wins and no losses. Santa Barbara is now 14-2 overall, and 12-2 against ranked opponents. The game against Texas was their first since March 14 (against Pepperdine), and their first since being voted into the top spot in the polls.
“Winning all three [games] certainly doesn’t hurt our chances [for keeping the number one spot],” Head Coach Paul Ramsey said. ”It’s not a huge concern, though, since any of the top three seeds at nationals are all fine for us.”
Playing in its first game against the University of Texas, UCSB had no trouble with the Longhorns from the start, and it was 8-3 in favor of the Gauchos at halftime before they won by a final score of 15-6. Junior attacker Samantha Lutz led the team in scoring, scoring five goals and assisting in four others.
Later that same day, Santa Barbara faced off against Michigan State. This turned out to be a much closer game, and at one point it was tied, 4-4. However, the Gauchos were able to pull out a win, edging the Spartans 7-5.
The final game against the University of Oregon was also saw a 4-4 tie, in this instance at the half, but Santa Barbara was able to pull away in the second half to win the game 13-5. The win was due in large part to the efforts of freshman goalie Jeni Centner, who had five saves in the game and was five of six in the second half.
Though the Gauchos came away from the tournament with three wins, they had to really work for two of them. According to Coach Ramsey, these struggles stemmed from having 14 days off between games.
“We’re coming back from 14 days off so we expected a little rust,” Ramsey said. ”Even though we had some great practices last week leading up to these games, that’s still not the same as playing someone else. We always verbalize adjustments at halftime and most of the time that translates into action on the field in the second half. That’s how it worked out against Oregon when we outscored them 9-1 in the second half.”
The Gauchos have only lost two games all season, both of which came back in mid-February in the Santa Barbara Shootout. Since then they have beaten every team they have come across, most of whom were ranked. However, despite their dominance, Coach Ramsey is not worried about his team becoming overconfident and falling into a “trap” game.
“We can’t possibly be overconfident right now. Confident, yes, but until we put two good halves together against a good team and, maybe, even do that four or five games in a row we should not be overconfident.” The Gauchos’ next game will be at home against unranked USC this Saturday. This game will be their last before the Western Women’s Lacrosse League Championships, which begins on the 18th and will be held at UCSB.