UCSB women’s soccer (1-4-2) was back at Harder Stadium this evening as it played another non-conference opponent in the Fresno State University Bulldogs. Following this very physical and demanding game, the Gauchos were the team to come out on top, winning their first match of the season 2-1 over the Bulldogs.
The first 45 minutes were scoreless for both teams, but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Gauchos had multiple chances to score goals, but had seven offside calls against them in the first half alone, with one attempt even finding the back of the net. Even with that, the UCSB defense showed up as they stopped multiple shots, including three on goal, from going in their net.
Despite the first half, UCSB did not let up on offense. The Gauchos were finally able to make it through the Bulldogs’ defensive line, scoring their first goal in the 50th minute. Lauren Helwig received a beautiful pass down the field from Gia Cimring and was able to head the ball into the back of the net, putting her team up by one.
From there, the Gauchos continued with their fight. Just four minutes later, UCSB struck again. This time, Samantha Christie found the back of the net off a header that went right above the opposing keeper’s head to put her team up 2-0.
Although the Bulldogs grabbed a goal in the 87th minute, it wasn’t enough to push them past the Gauchos. UC Santa Barbara won its first game of the season 2-1 over Fresno State.
– Helwig had the strongest game for the Gauchos tonight. Not only did she score the opening goal of the game, but she also assisted the second goal, giving a pass right in front of the net for Christie to head in. She now leads the team in points with five for the season.
– Christie scored the first goal of her career tonight to keep the Gauchos ahead of its competitors. She is the first freshman on UC Santa Barbara’s roster to score a goal. Christie also gave herself two other chances to score as she ended the game with three shots.
– Taylor Little had a phenomenal night in the net for the Gauchos. She made six saves and other key defensive plays while only allowing one goal.
– Besides Little, the only other two Gauchos to play all 90 minutes were Elise Ziem and Melanie Mikoy. Mikoy was a key part of the team’s defensive efforts while Ziem’s physical style of play stopped the Bulldogs from scoring.
The Gauchos will make the trip to Moscow, Idaho, as they take on the University of Idaho for another non-conference contest. The match will be streamed through ESPN+ and live stats will also be available.
Kristen Keller is the associate athletic director for communications and digital strategy at UCSB.