SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team scored a goal late in the first half and then held on for a 1-0 win over UC Irvine in the Big West opener for both schools on Friday.
Late in the first half, the Gauchos (7-4-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big West) struck first. Savannah Francis dribbled the ball down the right side of the box to the end line where she cracked a cross that found its way across the front of the goal. Madison Beckley came in from the left and knocked a header into the left side of the net. It was Beckley's fifth goal of the year.
UCI (5-5-0 overall, 0-1 in the Big West) challenged repeatedly in the second half, but to no avail. UCSB's defense was stellar.
"We had to weather the storm, but our defense was up for it," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "They had a lot more possession than us, more shots than us, but they weren't peppering the goal. All the shots were from distance and from set pieces. They were good in the air, but Beth (Ritter) wasn't called on a ton because our defense was able to keep one of the better teams in the conference from scoring."
Ritter posted her sixth shutout of the season and she had five saves in the process.
UCSB will remain and host Long Beach State in another key Big West match-up on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. Tickets are available online by clicking here or at the stadium ticket office one-hour prior to kick-off.