The UCSB women’s soccer team dominated the Fresno State Bulldogs on Friday by a score of 3-0, improving their record to 3-2-3 on the season.
After their hard-fought battle against No. 2 Stanford on Sunday, the Gauchos bounced back and executed for the full 90 minutes to gain a decisive win over the previously 3-1-1 Bulldogs. What makes this win even more impressive is that UCSB essentially flipped the script from last Sunday’s match, where they were unable to muster any shots against Stanford’s stellar defense, as they held Fresno State to only two shots for the whole game.
The Gauchos set the tone for this game at the outset as they immediately penetrated the Fresno State defense by taking three shots in the first eight minutes, and ultimately set up senior Lynsee Voss to score their first goal of the game. With an early lead to play with, the Gaucho defense locked down, and Fresno State took their final shot attempt of the game at the 28-minute mark in the first half as they had no answer for UCSB’s defensive attack. The defense limited Fresno so much that senior goalie and reigning Big West Defensive Player of the Week Hanna DeWeese only needed to save one shot on goal on Friday in order to achieve her third complete-game shutout of the season.
In the second half the Gauchos got on the board again as senior Shaelan Murison scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season at the 51-minute mark. Then, just nine minutes later Murison assisted on Isabella Viana’s first goal of the season to extend the lead to 3-0 at the 60-minute mark in the second half.
UCSB got two more shots on goal but were unable to convert and the game ended with the final score 3-0 in favor of the Gauchos.
The Gauchos will now hit the road on Sunday for a date with the struggling Loyola Marymount Lions, who are winless on the season with a record of 0-6-2.
Head Coach Paul Stumpf will likely attempt to replicate Friday’s game plan in hopes that the defensive strategy that shut down a team with some firepower like Fresno State will also work wonders against an LMU team that lacks talent and depth compared to some of UCSB’s previous opponents.
This game will serve as an opportunity for UCSB to build momentum both offensively and defensively after they dominated on both sides in their last game.
The Lions have put eight balls in the net so far this year for an average of one goal per game. Their leading goal-scorer is junior Maki Kono, who has two goals on the season on a team-leading 12 shot attempts. She’s one player the Gauchos must focus on containing in order to come out on top. Redshirt sophomore forward Simone Handy has been one of Loyola Marymount’s breakout performers this year as she has been upgraded to an everyday starter compared to a season ago when she only started nine of the Lion’s 20 games. So far this year Handy has the team-lead in assists with two and one goal of her own to go along with it. She is a very versatile player that Santa Barbara must keep an eye on.
For the Gauchos they will continue to count on their two stars, DeWeese and Murison, to continue their consistent production on offense and defense and continue to build on every game as we move closer to conference play.