The first weekend of Big West play ended with mixed results for the UCSB women’s soccer team, as UC Irvine dismantled the Gauchos 3-0 on Friday before Santa Barbara was able to sneak a 3-2 win by Northridge on Sunday. UCSB (4-7-1 overall, 1-1 in Big West) needed a late goal by sophomore midfielder Katy Roby to pull out the win after watching Northridge erase what was a 2-0 Gaucho advantage.
UCSB’s first weekend match pitted them against an Anteater 8-3-1, 1-0 squad that that had no intention of dropping another 4-0 loss to Santa Barbara. This time around, it was UCI’s turn to turn away the Gaucho attack, allowing UCSB seven total shots, only two of which were on goal. Irvine also limited Gaucho set piece attempts, surrendering no corner kick opportunities, the first time this season UCSB laid a goose egg in that category.
Offensively, the Anteaters hit their stride late in the first half when freshman forward Dana Sanderlin earned the first of three assists after freshman defender Sarah Devine headed her cross down into the net. Not content with a 1-0 halftime lead, Irvine kept the heat on, and in the 46th minute beat sophomore keeper Ali Cutler again, this time on a 35-yard far-post rocket from junior midfielder Milana Shabestari. A minute later, Sanderlin found freshman midfielder Devon Delarosa on another pretty cross to make it 3-0. It would stay that way until the final whistle, marking only the fourth time this year UCSB had been shutout.
UCSB, a team that was picked in the pre-season to win the Big West, were in need of a victory Sunday against the Matadors (5-7-0, 1-1) and barely got one. It didn’t seem like the close game it would become after 74 minutes of play, with Santa Barbara becoming the owners of a comfortable 2-0 lead. Just 34 seconds into the match, junior forward Kailyn Kugler took a chance from 12 yards out and buried it for her third of the year. With less than 10 minutes to go in the first, junior forward Erica Seidman collected her own header off the near post for a rebound goal to put UCSB up 2-0 at the half. It was the Coto de Caza native’s first career goal.
Northridge refused to give up in the second half however, catching a break off the Gaucho’s own goal in the 74th minute which cut their lead to one. Three minutes later CSUN had another brilliant chance in the box and capitalized, this time with one of their players. Junior forward Farryn Townley recorded her sixth of the year to tie the score at 2-2, her team-high sixth of the year.
That set the stage for Roby, who weaved through the Northridge defense in the 82nd minute and let fly a bullet from 15 yards out, beating the keeper and scoring what would be the game-winner, her first of the year.
UCSB returns home this weekend to face Cal State Fullerton on Friday and UC Riverside on Sunday. In 2008, Fullerton was the only other team besides Long Beach to hand Santa Barbara a conference defeat en route to their Big West Championship Title. As always, admission to Harder Stadium is free for students.