For its first road trip of the conference season, the UCSB women’s soccer team split its two games on the weekend, losing to the University of Hawaii on Thursday but bouncing back on Sunday for a 1-0 win against Cal State Northridge.
With the split over the weekend, UCSB is now 8-6-1 overall and 2-2 in the Big West. The two conference wins are the same number of conference victories the Gauchos had all of last year. After Hawaii’s win on Thursday night, the Warriors improve to .500 at 6-6 on the season and are 1-2 in conference. Meanwhile, the Matador’s conference struggles continue as they remain winless at 0-3-1 and 5-9-1 overall.
UCSB was quick to bounce back early against the Matadors after Thursday’s disappointing loss against the Warriors. In the 14th minute of play the Gauchos got on the board when sophomore midfielder Angelisa Cortez drew the goalkeeper out of the goal, after cutting past the defense. Cortez slid the ball to senior forward Allie Ariniello who had an open goal and put UCSB up 1-0.
It was Ariniello’s fourth goal of the season, second-most on the team, and Cortez’s first assist on the year.
The game remained even from there on going into the half. Possession of the ball switched between teams in the last 45 minutes of play; each team struggled to maintain control of the ball as the defense from both teams demonstrated solid play in the backline. UCSB benefitted from the early score and played defense against Northridge in the final minutes of the game.
With less than five minutes left in the game, CSUN had one last shot on goal, but sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter blocked the ball for her second save of the game, giving UCSB the victory. The 1-0 result is the fourth occasion UCSB has won by that score and more notably, all of UCSB’s wins this year have come by way of shutout.
UCSB travelled to Hawaii for its first road game of the conference season on Thursday; previously the Gauchos had been a respectable 2-3-1 away from Harder Stadium going into the match. Both teams were even in the first half and went tied 0-0 going into halftime, having the same number of shots in the first period with four each.
Consistency has been a problem for the Gauchos in the second half of games with the team often wearing down towards the end of matches. Against the Warriors, UCSB again had a difficult time trying to maintain its same level of play. Hawaii outshot the Gauchos 9-4 in the second half and pressured Santa Barbara for the rest of the game.
With 10 minutes remaining, the UCSB defense let Hawaii’s main offensive threat let loose. Junior forward Tiana Fujimoto, who entered the game second in the Big West with six goals, ran past the defense and unleashed a shot from the left side of the field that deflected off the post, and into the back of the net. UCSB had one final attempt on a corner kick in the final minutes of the game but was called for offsides, giving the 1-0 win to Hawaii.
UCSB now has only four games remaining in its regular season schedule. With two weekends of play left, the Gauchos will have to earn results in the games left in order to remain in contention for a spot in the Big West tournament.
Santa Barbara will stay at home to face UC Riverside on Friday and then hit the road once again to face Cal State Fullerton on Sunday evening.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of October 14, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Magali Gauthier of The Daily Nexus.