A late second half goal against the UCSB women’s soccer team brought a disappointing conclusion to the team’s season, as the Gauchos were unable to find the back of the net against rival Cal Poly in their final game of the year yesterday afternoon and lost 1-0.

“If you look at the statistics, it was a dead even statistical game, except for [the score],” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “This was one of the more complete performances by everybody; this was a game where so many people played well.”

UC Santa Barbara finishes the year with a 5-12-2 overall record and 2-6-1 in conference. In a season plagued by untimely injuries to key players and costly mistakes on both ends of the field, the Gauchos lost by just one goal in five of their six conference losses.

“Here’s what I’m most proud of: we clearly didn’t win a lot of games, but for these players to keep persevering, to keep competing and keep working hard every game says so much about their competitive spirit and their commitment to their school, program and each other,” Stumpf said.

With the victory, Cal Poly improves to 9-6-3 overall and finishes conference with a 6-1-2 record. With 20 points earned in league, the Mustangs clinch a spot in the Big West Conference Tournament.

Both sides played an even first half, trading shots on each side of the goal, but neither was able to generate any real chances on frame. With solid play from the defenses and excellent goalkeeping, the match was a 0-0 draw at the half.

Coming out with the same tenacity and aggression in the second half, the Gauchos were able to hold down the top-ranked offense in the league until the 73rd minute, when freshman forward Elise Krieghoff was able to create space at the top of the box and take advantage of a backline that was playing with one woman down. Playing without three key offensive players due to injury, the Gauchos entered with a huge disadvantage, but received consistent play from their back-up strikers throughout the match. Nevertheless, they were unable to draw even against the Mustangs.

“They worked so hard and they just have not been rewarded for their efforts this year,” Stumpf said. “I wish we could keep going because we are so close with this.”

UCSB says goodbye to three seniors, but will retain a large portion of this year’s squad as they look to be serious contenders for next year’s Big West title.

“We gained so much experience with our young players; we were in every game and the girls did a good job of always competing and always working hard,” Stumpf said. “I definitely like the future of this program.”