The UCSB women’s soccer team will have an opportunity to end its senior players’ successful careers in a strong fashion when the squad plays host to rival Cal Poly tonight.
After losing their previous two league games, UC Santa Barbara currently stands at 6-11-2 and last place in conference at 1-6, but can still salvage a win to conclude the careers of their senior class that has gone 13-7-2 in the Big West before this season.
“It means everything to me and to the rest of the seniors to end the season on a good note and go out and play with everything we have and get a win,” senior defender Nicole Romanowski said. “We’re not going to settle for anything less.”
The Gauchos, who recently lost 2-1 to Pacific before a 2-0 defeat at the hands of UC Davis in last week’s road trip, faces rival Cal Poly in the annual Blue-Green rivalry matchup.
Cal Poly enters the season finale at 9-8-1 with a 3-4 record in the Big West, ending a three-game skid at Pacific last weekend with a 2-1 victory.
UCSB will be saying goodbye to much of their starting midfield and defensive backfield in Romanowski, Cory Yoshida, Alexa Stringer, Kathleen Matthew, Alyssa Oldham, and Alyssa Benjamin.
“It’s really important,” freshman forward Indiana Mead said. “That would be great for them to go out on a win because they definitely don’t want to go out on a loss.”
Also suiting up in their last games as Gauchos will be goalkeeper Kat Serdio and forward Brook Salyer. The top five goal scorers for the Gauchos return next season but they will surely take a hit in the defensive side of the ball.
This year’s seniors have not beaten Cal Poly since they first had the chance in 2008. In the previous three seasons, UCSB is 1-2-2 against the Mustangs.
“It’s definitely going to be physical but all the games we’ve played have been pretty physical so I think we’re ready for it,” Mead said.
In a season in which UCSB has lost six of their previous seven matches, all in league, there is a much-needed boost in confidence entering this game against Cal Poly.
“It’s always a big game, it’s a huge rivalry,” Romanowski said. “It’s definitely going to add an extra pressure [and] extra energy to the game.”
For the senior Gauchos it is an opportunity to end their careers at home amongst their families and with one final victory over their hated rivals.
“It’d be awesome. I’m really hoping that that’s the way it ends,” Romanowski said. “All the seniors want it more than anything and winning this game means so much to them. We’re going to do everything it takes to get a win.”
Kickoff against Cal Poly tonight is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Harder Stadium.