The UCSB women’s soccer team recorded their third win of the season this past Sunday to put them at an overall record of 3-2-3. Behind a hat trick from senior forward Shaelan Murison, Santa Barbara was able to find the back of the net four times to give them a comfortable win over Loyola Marymount.
Loyola Marymount entered this game winless and on a four-game losing streak, putting them at an overall record 0-7-2. It has been a disappointing season thus far for the Lions as the team has been unable to form an identity on the offensive end of the field. With an extremely young team, Loyola Marymount has steadily gotten better in terms of their chemistry as they look to improve every game.
UC Santa Barbara started off with an intense amount of pressure early on as the squad looked to cause turnovers in the Lion’s half of the field. Santa Barbara was able to score in just fifteen minutes as Murison scored her first goal off of a lead pass from junior forward Isabella Viana. Viana has played well as of late, as it seems that she is stepping up in terms of being a playmaker on the offensive end of the field.
Murison would score her second goal in the 24th minute and third goal in the 56th minute of the contest to complete her hat trick. This was an encouraging sight for the Gauchos as despite Murison finishing all three goals, the goals were assisted by three different players. UCSB has struggled to find players to emerge on the offensive side of the field next to Murison but that narrative seems to be changing.
Loyola Marymount was able to get on the board in the 66th minute of the contest as sophomore forward Sydney Schultz netted her first goal of the season. Just five minutes later, junior midfielder Olivia LaCasto scored to get the Lions within one goal of tying the ball game. Throughout their season, the Lions have struggled to finish their opportunities inside the penalty box.
UCSB would put the game away with a goal from Viana putting the ‘Chos up 4-2 in the 89th minute, effectively putting the game out of reach. Although the game became close toward the end, it was an overall solid performance from the young team that has aspirations for a Big West title.
Santa Barbara has seemed to have caught fire as of late as the squad is now riding a two-game win streak in which the team has outscored its opponents by two and a half goals. Much of this can be attributed to not only the improved offensive play but the steady play of senior goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese. DeWeese’s confidence and quick hands combined with the Gauchos’ stout defenders has led to an extremely formidable defense as a whole.
With just two games left until conference play begins, UCSB will need to keep up their high level of play in order to hit the ground running in their first interconference matchup, which is just a couple weeks away.
In order for the Gauchos to continue the success that they have been having as of late, it will be crucial for the squad to remain poised and continue to persevere even when facing adversity. For younger teams, it is more difficult in general but there are seniors on the roster who can ensure that the team remains calm in those moments.
Santa Barbara is back in action this Thursday against Santa Clara in an away game at 7:00 p.m. where the Gauchos will look to add on to their two-game win streak against a very talented Broncos squad.
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