After participating in a four-game tournament last weekend in northern California, UCSB will head down south for another four game set of matches that begin Friday.

UCSB will start competition Friday against Cal Lutheran University. The match will take place in Thousand Oaks at noon, after which the Gauchos will head to El Toro High School in Lake Forest for a contest with Concordia University at 6 p.m. They will then play UC San Diego and the U.S. Navy on Saturday in San Diego.

The Gauchos have started the season at a strong 7-2 mark, good for a No. 6 ranking in the entire country. While UCSB faces tough tests against No. 11 Concordia and No. 13 UCSD, their main challenge this weekend will likely be the vigors of managing a demanding travel schedule with four matches in two days.

Playing matches in high volume is nothing new to UCSB, however. Santa Barbara played four games last weekend, three the weekend before that and two in the opening weekend of the season.

Although they went 2-2 in the NorCal series, UCSB felt good about their performance.

“Our last tournament was a positive step forward for us,” junior attacker Derek Shoemaker said. “We played great defense all weekend against some of the best teams in the nation. We beat a talented Long Beach State team despite struggling on offense.”

Shoemaker leads UCSB in scoring with 23 goals on the season. He is looking for an offensive success this weekend.

“[Against UCLA] we went off for 10 goals in the first half, giving ourselves some good cushion and the opportunity to play some of our younger guys,” Shoemaker said. “We want to continue that trend this weekend.”

The Gauchos return to Santa Barbara after Saturday night’s final game against the Navy.


This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of the Daily Nexus.

Photo by Magali Gauthier of the Daily Nexus.