It was a weekend that could have turned the UCSB women’s soccer team’s season around.
[media-credit name=”Daniel Wade” align=”alignleft” width=”205″][/media-credit]Instead, the Gauchos lost 2-1 to UC Davis on Friday and 2-1 in overtime on Sunday to Pacific in a weekend marred by wet Santa Barbara weather and the team’s inability to close — despite beating both teams’ shot on goal attempts.
“[On Sunday] we had the effort, we had the intensity, the organization,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “In [Friday’s game] I was pissed at our team [because] we didn’t start playing until we were down 2-0. It’s a very different feeling of disappointment from Friday.”
After the losses, the Gauchos dropped to 2-4 in the conference and 6-8-2 overall. The Tigers improved to 3-2 in the Big West and to 6-6-3 overall, while the Aggies improved to 1-3 in conference play and 6-7-1 overall.
In Sunday’s loss to Pacific, the Gauchos struck first at the 17:33 mark in the second half when senior Kailyn Kugler kicked in a cross from sophomore midfielder Erin Ortega. With a chance to put the Gauchos up 2-0, Ortega crossed the goal line on a header attempt with less than 12 seconds to go in the contest, nullifying a potential goal and continuing a theme that has been apparent since the first Gaucho road trip in late August: the team’s inability to put the ball in the goal despite outshooting — an often outplaying — its opponents.
“Same thing, different game,” freshman goalkeeper Makenna Henry said.
Tiger junior forward Kristina Wavomba responded with a goal of her own after heading in Pacific’s only corner kick of the afternoon at the 9:42 mark. With 11 seconds left in the first overtime period, Wavomba assisted the winning goal with a hard pass from the top of the goal box to the Tigers’ Angelica Figueroa, who one-timed a shot past a diving Henry.
“I didn’t even see it go in,” Wavomba said. “A girl kind of hit me and then I looked up and the ball was in the net.”
“She had a lot of skill,” Henry said of Wavomba. “Great footwork. Broke down our defense well. She jumped over us.”
The match saw 36 fouls and four yellow cards. While UCSB was outshot 13-12, it still had eight shots on goal compared to the Tigers’ four.
“We just can’t finish our lunches,” Stumpf said. “We’re getting to the point where we’re just not that good up top as far as finishing our chances.”
In Friday’s match, the Aggies dominated the Gaucho defense to break their four-game losing streak, piling in both goals from within 10 yards. UCSB responded with aggressive play in the second half with the help of Ortega, who drove in a goal from the right post in the 75th minute. The Gauchos outshot the Aggies 18-9 with nine shots on goal. The Aggies only had two.
“They work their brains out,” Stumpf said. “Unfortunately, this year they’re just not getting rewarded for their efforts. I feel for them.”
Still, the Gauchos have three more matches to play before the Big West Championships begin on Nov. 4. The team’s last two matches against conference squads from Fullerton and Cal Poly could decide the team’s postseason fate.
“[The losses] were kind of deflating, but not enough to think that our whole season’s thrown away,” senior defender Julia Speace said. “We still have an opportunity to sneak into the tournament.”
UCSB plays its last home game against Seattle University at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21.