With every victory there is always room for improvement. That is the story for the UCSB women’s soccer team after this past weekend’s games. Despite defeating UC Irvine 1-0 on Friday in its conference opener, the Gauchos suffered a disappointing loss to Long Beach State on Sunday.
“The simple truth is we got beat by a better team. [Long Beach was] a little more technical, they were a little more athletic and we started off flat,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “We got beat by a better team. The good news is on the weekend, we’re 1-1.”
After this past weekend, the Gauchos’ record stands at 7-5-1 overall and 1-1 in the Big West conference. Long Beach improves to 7-5-0 and 1-1 in the league while the Anteaters are 6-5 and 1-1 in conference after its two games during the weekend.
Long Beach started the game strong and controlled UCSB in the first moments of the game, using its tactics to keep the ball away from the Gauchos and attacking offensively for a majority of the first half.
In the 31st minute of play, Long Beach got inside the box and had a series of shots on goal until a shot deflected off a UCSB defender and shot past the goalkeeper into the back of the net for a 1-0 49er advantage. CSULB was not finished for the half and scored again eight minutes later when junior midfielder Taylor Nelson shot from distance into the corner of the goal to put the 49ers up by two heading into the second half.
“Momentum is a really hard thing to turn around,” Stumpf said. “We were really chasing the game for the first 20, 30 minutes.”
With adjustments made coming into the second half, UCSB was nearly able to even the game but was still unable to establish any rhythm offensively. Long Beach’s early momentum was enough to carry them past the Gauchos for a 2-1 win. After a shutout win on Friday, the Gaucho defense was not on par with Friday’s performance.
“It’s a Sunday game, it’s hot in the afternoon and [the defense] played a lot of minutes on Friday night,” sophomore forward Angelisa Cortez said. “They worked hard, the best they can do … They played to the maximum of their ability.”
Despite getting behind in the first half against Long Beach, Friday’s match against UC Irvine brought better results for the Gauchos. The two teams were in a defensive stalemate for the first half until UCSB broke through late with a goal in the 44th minute. Junior midfielder Madison Beckley headed in a cross for her team-high fifth goal of the season.
UCI entered the second half with more inspired play and became aggressors on the offensive side of the pitch. Being limited to only three shots in the first 45 minutes of the game, the Anteaters had 10 shots in the second half. However, the solid Gaucho defense remained on point and kept UCI from getting off a serious threat on goal.
In the final minutes of the game, the Gauchos began to slow down, causing Irvine to take advantage of the worn-out defensive. UCSB was able to survive the late scare by the Anteaters to hang on to the 1-0 win.
“I think we only won two conference games all last year and I kind of put Irvine at the top of the pile in the teams in the Big West, so to get a result off them on a Friday night at home is great,” Stumpf said.
It was UCSB’s sixth shutout win in its last eight games before losing on Sunday. Sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter continued her stellar play between the nets, coming up huge for five saves to preserve Friday’s shutout.
UCSB will now travel to Hawaii to face the Warriors on Thursday, followed by another road game against Cal State Northridge on Sunday.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of October 7, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Magali Gauthier of The Daily Nexus.