Dylan Lewis and Hanna DeWeese were in the right place at the right time for the UCSB women’s soccer team on Sunday.
And it produced a victory against the defending Big West Conference champions.
Lewis scored her second goal on a rebound in the first half, and DeWeese stopped a penalty kick in the second half to lead the Gauchos to a 1-0 win over Long Beach State in their Big West Conference opener at Harder Stadium.
“There are a lot of things I liked about today,” UCSB coach Paul Stumpf said. “I like the shutout. I like beating the reigning Big West regular-season and tournament champion, and doing it a little undermanned.
“We had no Christine Maurer, no Emma Vanderhyden and no Lynsee Voss.”
The three happen to be key contributors for the Gauchos (5-3-3, 1-0-0 Big West Conference), and without their services because of injuries, other players had to pick up the slack. And they did.
“A number of players who normally don’t get a ton of minutes had to step up,” Stumpf said, “and they did very well. I think we defended well. Other than the penalty kick, I don’t think we got broken down a ton.”
UCSB controlled the ball and the tempo in the first half, which led to the only goal of the match.
Senior forward Shaelan Murison fired an 18-yard shot from the left side that 49ers goalkeeper Marta Alemany Sanchez was able to stop. But Alemany Sanchez failed to catch the ball. Instead, it dropped in the 6-yard box, where Lewis took her time and ripped the rebound into the back of the net for the game winner.
“We would love to have two Dylans or three Dylans if we could,” Stumpf said. “She’d play right back, she’d play a right-sided midfielder and she’d play a wide striker,” Stumpf added with a smile.
“But we don’t. It was a second chance for us, and Dylan got it done.”
UCSB dominated time on the ball in the first half and outshot Long Beach State, 8-2, over the first 45 minutes.
The 49ers, however, made some changes in their shape and personnel at halftime. They were changes that made Long Beach far more dangerous in the second half. On one particular attack in the 53rd minute, the Gauchos committed a foul in their end of the field along the right side.
The 49ers were awarded a free kick off the foul..
That’s when the match to a hard turn in favor of Long Beach State (3-8-0, 1-1-0 Big West). Junior defender Kaylee Ramirez swung her free kick into the box, where referee Israel Fernandez blew his whistle and called another foul on the Gauchos in the 18-yard box. This time UCSB’s second foul in less than a minute resulted in a penalty shot for Long Beach. Wasting little time, Ramirez placed the ball on the 10-yard spot with DeWeese positioning herself in goal.
Ramirez, a left-footed player, struck the ball toward the inside of the left post.
DeWeese guessed correctly, and deflected the shot wide of the post to preserve UCSB’s 1-0 lead.
“I normally dive to my left (on penalty shots),” DeWeese said, “but Goff (Gaucho associate head coach Goffin Boyoko) talked about it in film that (Ramirez) is left-footed and she likes her left side.
“I kind of just threw my body at it, and it ended up working out, which was awesome. It’s quite an adrenaline rush to stop a PK.”
It was the second time DeWeese has stopped a penalty kick this season. She also did it against then-No. 2 ranked Stanford.
“I think, for me, that’s the most exciting kind of a save to make,” DeWeese added. “They’re right there. There are no defenders, no one else. It’s just me and the shooter. It definitely provides me with the biggest adrenaline rush when I can stop a penalty shot.”
DeWeese finished with two saves, both in the second half.
“She’s really long to start, so she covers an awful lot of the goal just by being able to spread those big wings of hers,” Stumpf said of his goalkeeper’s big save on the penalty kick. “But she’s also done a pretty good job of guessing right.
“She’s 2-for-2 this year on guessing right, so knock on wood if she sees another one she’ll guess right again.”
Oddly enough, through 11 matches this season, the Gauchos have not been awarded a penalty kick.
UCSB outshot Long Beach State, 12-6. Murison, who leads the Gauchos with eight goals, took four of the shots, but none were on frame.
UCSB continues conference play on Thursday at UC Davis.