With the season being weeks away for the UC Santa Barbara women’s soccer team, the preseason is just underway for the Gauchos.
For their first match of the preseason, the Gauchos took on the Westmont College Warriors for an exhibition match.
Being a Division 1 program, the Gauchos were seen as heavy favorites in this match as the Warriors are featured in the NAIA Division of collegiate sports. Nonetheless, the purpose of this match was to get players back into playing speed and to mesh together the team before the regular season begins.
In the match, the Gauchos were only able to muster one goal, but it proved to be a decisive one as they came away with a 1-0 victory.
In the first half of the match, UCSB came out firing, creating 2 shots on goal within the first 20 minutes of the match, prompting the Warriors’ senior goalie Kailey Meyer into two comfortable saves. The Gauchos’ defense played a crucial role in this match, not allowing a single shot from the Warriors. The Gauchos persisted in attacking the Westmont defense in the first half, putting the pressure on with 6 shots – 4 of them being on goal.
To begin the second half, the Gauchos managed to string together good passing within the visitors side of the field but couldn’t convert their opportunities. Finally, in the 81st minute the Gauchos capitalized on their possession and scored a goal. Sophomore midfielder Avery Nicholas assisted sophomore forward Meg Burling, who rose up from the cross and converted it into the back of the net for the Gauchos’ lone goal.
In the following two games the women’s team took on the Colorado College Tigers and the Gaels of Saint Mary’s College of California.
During the first official non-conference match the Gauchos had trouble on both sides of the ball as they were outshot with the targets on goal and lost the match 1-2 due to a lack of defensive efforts. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Little played the full 90 minutes, saving 2 shots on target.
Against Saint Mary’s the Gauchos continued a bit of a rough stretch of offensive play. They were outshot with shots on goal 2-4 and did not score at all. This match saw senior goalkeeper Evann Smith, who allowed one goal while the Gauchos could not manage to scrape across any, leading to their 0-1 loss.
The Gauchos’ next match will be against Sacramento State, followed by another away non-conference match against Stanford.
UCSB will host their next match at Harder Stadium on September 1, when they will take on Pepperdine.