Both UCSB men’s and women’s lacrosse teams were in action over the long weekend. The Gaucho men (1-3 overall) fell on hard luck in a pair of tight matches, losing 13-10 against Cal Poly before being edged 12-11 in double-overtime against Brigham Young. The Gaucho women (7-0 overall) had better success hosting the 22nd annual Santa Barbara Shootout, walking away with five wins in five games.
The men’s game against Cal Poly started off well for the Gauchos. They took an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter and looked to be in control. However, in the second and third quarters, the Mustangs began to exploit holes in the Gaucho defense, and the game moved into the fourth quarter with UCSB down 9-5. As the third quarter ended, a fight nearly broke out between the Gaucho and Mustang benches, reenergizing the Gauchos for a fourth quarter where they rallied back to tie the game at 10-10 with eight minutes left. Unfortunately, Cal Poly would have the final say, handing Santa Barbara a 13-10 loss.
“I think that we played well for most of the first quarter, and they did a good job capitalizing on our mistakes at the end of the first through the second,” Head Coach Mario Waibel said.
Monday’s game began with BYU taking a 4-0 lead and shutting the Gauchos out offensively until there was only one minute remaining in the first quarter. Despite playing stellar defense, the Gauchos could not get anything going offensively as BYU maintained possession for the majority of the first quarter. But as the game wore on, UCSB began to work out the kinks in the offense, leading to an 11-11 tie with 31 seconds left in the game. Once again, however, the comeback attempt fell just short, as BYU scored with about 2:30 left in the second overtime to take home a one-point victory.
“Our objective is to get better every day,” Waibel said. “I think we’re doing that. We’re young, we’re talented and we’re coming together. It’s not how you start the season; it’s how you end it.”
For the women’s lacrosse team, the action began Friday against #9 Lindenwood University. UCSB opened the game by taking a 12-4 lead with about seven minutes remaining in the first half, but in the second half, Lindenwood battled back to tie the game at 14. Fortunately, the Gauchos were able to score one more time before the end of the game, allowing them to walk away with a narrow 15-14 win.
The first game on Saturday against the sixth-ranked Florida Gators took a similar course to Friday’s game. The Gauchos were leading 7-2 at halftime, but had to hold off the surging Gators to take a 9-8 victory. The second game on Saturday against the #12 Texas Longhorns started off close, with UCSB narrowly leading Texas 4-3 at halftime. In the second half, however, the Gauchos took control of the game and beat the Longhorns soundly, 11-5. Both of Saturday’s games were, at least initially, very defensive games, which can be mentally exhausting for players.
“A grinding, defensive game is mentally tough because it can come down to one foul or one missed assignment resulting in the other team scoring the game winner,” Head Coach Paul Ramsey said.
On Sunday, Santa Barbara played yet another close one against #3 Colorado. Though the Buffs took a 6-4 lead in the second quarter, the Gauchos were able to hold them at six and scored four more goals to claim an 8-6 victory. The Gauchos completed their cycle of nail-biting wins again on Monday against #16 Brigham Young University, playing their best half of the tournament in the second period to trump the Lions in a 15-9 win.
“While 7-0 is an amazing way to start off the season, our coach always tells us that we should never be satisfied,” senior midfielder Maggie Aker said. “Each game is new and important. We know we have a lot of big games ahead of us, so we are going to try not to get too ahead of ourselves.”