Last Saturday, the UCSB women’s soccer club traveled to Los Angeles for a rematch with the UCLA Bruins.
When the Gauchos last played UCLA in the UCSB invitational, UCLA was able to secure a 1-0 victory late in game. One week later, the Bruins were once again leading late in the game. This time, however, the Gauchos came away with a 1-1 tie, bringing their record to 5-1-1.
“The disappointing part was that we literally had numerous chances to score the second time we played them and we squandered all of our opportunities until the very last minute of play,” Head Coach Todd Heil said. “The frustrating part is that it shouldn’t have taken us so long to score.”
For most of the game, UCSB was dominating. They won in all aspects of the game except the score. The Gaucho defense held off the attacks of the Bruins for most of the game. When they did score, it was not the skill of their offense that allowed the goal, but momentary miscommunications in the Santa Barbara defense.
“The only opportunities that UCLA got on our goal were on our own passing/clearing mistakes,” senior forward Alyssa Doniak said. “That’s how they scored on us.”
Unfortunately, communication, according to Heil, is something that the Gauchos need to work on most of all. According to him, it is the amount of new players that are causing the breaks in communication, but those will disappear as the team gets used to playing with each other. As the game went by, and chance after chance to take the lead fell by the wayside, it seemed as though UCLA was going to hand the Gauchos their second 1-0 loss in a row. Then, in the 80th minute, senior midfielder Chelsey Stewart shot a pass to sophomore forward Laura Capparilli, who beat the UCLA goalie to tie the game at one apiece.
“Getting a late goal to tie the game gives your team confidence that they can come back when [they are] down, no matter how much time is left,” Heil said.
Unfortunately, despite having Capparilli — one of the offensive stars for this year’s team — back in the lineup, the one goal was all Santa Barbara could muster, and they left Los Angeles with a tie.
“Getting Laura Capparilli back is very important. Unfortunately she still wasn’t 100 percent for the game against UCLA, but she gave it her all,” Heil said. “Alyssa Doniak also wasn’t 100 percent for the game; she missed the entire week of training due to being sick.”
Both Doniak and Heil agree that the main problem is that, with so many new players, the team is still getting used to playing together. According to Doniak, the offense is still adjusting to the defense’s style of play. Coach Heil has faith in his team and believes that the offense will come around, and the defense will tighten up as well.
“As we move forward with our season, we need to work on getting comfortable and focused in front of the net,” Heil said. “We have to finish our chances so we don’t repeat what happened on Saturday against UCLA.”
The Gauchos are going to get time to work out the kinks. Their next game is not until Oct. 30, when the Regional Tournament at UC San Diego starts. Though they have some work to do before then, the Gauchos will be ready when the tournament opens.
“I think one of the biggest things that we have to improve on is being smart on the field,” Doniak said. “Mistakes are going to be made, but there is no excuse for just not thinking and making bad choices like we did versus UCLA.”