Senior Lynsee Voss picked a great time to net her second goal of the year for the UCSB women’s soccer team.
With the game between Santa Barbara and UC Riverside deadlocked at 2-2, Voss controlled a pass from Isabella Viana in the box about 10 yards from the goal and fired a low ground shot right past Riverside’s Caela Kaio to give her team a 3-2 victory in Friday night’s Big West match at Harder Stadium.
“The fact that we had to get three goals tonight is a little too much against a team that has only scored eight goals all year so I am a little disappointed … but the bottom line is we got three points and we are in control of our own destiny,” Head Coach Paul Stumpf said.
UCSB was without starting goalkeeper Hannah DeWeese who injured her right arm during pregame warmups.
“We can’t talk about the nature of the injury, but it was during warmups and it was just bad timing, bad luck for us,” Stumpf said.
DeWeese’s status for Sunday’s game against UC Irvine is unknown.
Without DeWeese, UCSB would have to rely on freshman keeper Evann Smith on Friday.
“We were really hoping we could save her year of eligibility and let Hannah finish things out but that just wasn’t the case,” Stumpf said.
Overall, Stumpf was pleased with the performance of his freshman keeper adding that neither goal was entirely her fault. Smith finished with three saves on the night.
“Evann’s strength is her shot-stopping. Her footwork and her distribution is one area we need to work on in the offseason but she did okay. It was Friday night, under the lights in an important Big West game and she got some great experience,” Stumpf said.
There was a lot riding on Friday night’s match for the Gauchos (8-4-5, 4-1-2).
A win over UCR would put UCSB in control of its own destiny heading into its final match of the season, but with some help from Cal Poly with a win over UC Irvine, Santa Barbara would secure on of the four spots heading into next week’s Big West Tournament.
UCSB got that additional help as CP defeated UCI in overtime, 3-2 about 20 minutes after Santa Barbara’s win.
With that, UCSB is now fighting for playoff seeding on Sunday as currently, it is the No. 3 seed thanks to a tiebreaker over Hawai’i with both teams having 14 points. Santa Barbara is behind No. 1 CSUN and No. 2 CSUF which each have 15 points.
The Gauchos could jump as high as No. 1 with a win and some help or fall as low as No. 4.
Overall, UCSB’s offense was moving well all throughout the night. The Gauchos dominated time of possession on Friday, 65% to 35%, and outshot the Highlanders 12-7.
Santa Barbara got the scoring started in the ninth minute as Viana took a ball down the right sideline, dribbled around two defenders beautifully, then fired the ball from the right corner inside the box to the left corner of the net past the keeper to give her team a 1-0 lead.
From there, UCSB continued controlling the flow of the game and even had some opportunities for scores but could not take advantage.
Finally, in the 33rd minute, UCR’s Natza Marin took a corner that went beyond nearly everyone’s head except Miah Conde. Conde headed the ball and it somehow found Amanda Roy alone and right in front of the net. The senior defender tapped it in to level the match at 1-1.
“The first goal was not Evann Smith
Despite dominating the time of possession and putting themselves in a good position, UCSB would go into the half tied at 1-1.
The Gauchos would re-take the lead in the 61st minute when freshman Dylan Lewis stole a ball from about 30 yards out and fired the shot from there which landed perfectly in the left corner of the net.
Not even one minute later, however, UCR would tie the match again. Another corner from Marin found Conde, who, this time, played the ball back to Kieran Ritter who fired a ball past Smith’s outstretched arms and found the back of the net.
“The defensive piece bothers me… we just did not track our marks. That’s not the goalkeeper’s job, I actually thought it would make more sense that they would rally around a freshman that’s getting her first start instead of leaving her hanging a couple of times,” Stumpf said.
UCSB had a couple more opportunities, even senior forward Shaelan Murison, the team’s leading goal scorer with 16, had a few looks but missed each time.
With the time winding down, overtime looked inevitable until Voss’s strike in the 85th minute.
UCR had one final look at an equalizer as in the 88th minute, Shanya Dhindsa stole the ball, in the Gauchos side of the field and ran right down the middle unopposed. She then took a shot with her right foot, but it carried to the right and beyond the net.
Although UCSB has secured a spot in the Big West tournament, Sunday’s match against UCI should still be an intense one.
Even though the Gauchos will need some help, they still have a chance to win a Big West title and host the tournament which begins on Thursday.
“It’s our senior day so my hope is they all come with the mentality that they are going to bring there all and try to get a win,” Stumpf said.
UCSB hosts UCI for a 2 p.m. match on Sunday.