Despite earning its biggest win of the season this Friday at home against UC Riverside in a 1-0 overtime thriller, the UCSB women’s soccer team was unable to duplicate the same result Sunday against Cal State Fullerton, losing 1-0 on the road.
Through three weeks of conference play, the Gauchos continue their pattern of splitting their weekend matches and are now 9-7-1 overall and 3-3 in the Big West. Cal State Fullerton is now 7-5-4 overall and 2-2-1 in conference while UCR drops to 6-9-1 and 3-2 in league.
“I don’t know too many teams that can lose seven starters and win in overtime at home and then lose in the last two minutes on the road and not be too pleased,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said. “They competed their socks off; we didn’t get the result but I’m so proud the way they competed.”
With both teams coming in with the best defenses in the league, CSUF and UCSB were locked in a scoreless draw going into halftime. Yet, the Titans were the clear aggressors in the half, outshooting Santa Barbara 10-1 in the half.
UCSB kept its defensive pressure in the second half and the game had every indication of going into overtime. However, with two minutes left, CSUF had a corner kick and took advantage of a failed clearance, scoring on the rebound to seal the win. It was UCSB’s third conference loss by one goal.
“Unfortunately for us the ball just fell to one of their players about three or four yards out; [Fullerton] just snuck in the second chance,” Stumpf said.
Despite being outshot 18-4, including 12-1 in shots on goal, sophomore goalkeeper Beth Ritter had a phenomenal night, tallying a career-high 10 saves.
Friday night’s game against Riverside, nothing short of physical and tough, had both teams in a defensive gridlock from beginning to end. Each side traded possession of the ball in the first half and the Gauchos limited UCR to only two shots.
With time expiring in regulation, the Gauchos showed no sign of fatigue and sent the game to overtime, their first of the season.
“One of the things we’ve talked about is their mentality and they’ve proved over the last two games in a row that there mentality is very good,” Stumpf said.
Despite fatigue setting in, UCSB was quick to attack the opposition’s side of the goal in overtime, having four shots in five minutes before freshman midfielder McKinsey Martinez scored the game-winning golden goal. Martinez capitalized on an open shot inside the penalty box.
“[The ball] was fumbling around, got hit a couple times and off defenders, just bounced out to my right foot and I volleyed it in,” Martinez said. “…This is my first game ever playing; it feels awesome being able to know that it’s finally my time.”
At that point, Ritter continued adding to her impressive shutout streak. All of UCSB’s wins this year had come by way of shutout, eight of those with Ritter guarding the posts.
Santa Barbara now prepares for its final two games of the regular season where it will need to produce results to earn a spot in the Big West Tournament. The first game of the weekend against Cal Poly at home is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of October 21st’s print edition of the Daily Nexus
Photo by Magali Gauthier of the Daily Nexus.