Gauchos Host Cleveland State Friday to Open 2014 Campaign

Geneve Dromensk (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Geneve Dromensk (Photo by Tony Mastres)

This Week
Friday, August 22, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cleveland State Vikings
At UCSB's Harder Stadium
Buy tickets online by clicking here

Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Southern Utah Thunderbirds
At UCSB's Harder Stadium 
Buy tickets online by clicking here

Home Is Where The Heart, And The Opener, Are
The 2014 regular season will officially begin when UC Santa Barbara women's soccer hosts Cleveland State for a match on Friday, Aug. 22 at 7:00 p.m. The Gauchos will also play at home on Sunday, Aug. 24 against Southern Utah in a noon matchup. They will then head out on a weeklong trip with stops at the University of Dayton (Aug. 29), Cincinnati (Aug. 31), and Stanford (Sept. 4).

It Didn't Count, But…
Santa Barbara unofficially opened the 2014 season on Aug. 16 with a 2-0 exhibition win over visiting Westmont College. Dakota Griggs and McKinsey Martinez scored goals for the Gauchos in the victory. 

A Look Back
UCSB battled through an injury-filled 2013 season, finishing with a 9-9-1 overall record overall and a 3-5 mark in the Big West Conference.

Preseason Honorees
Indiana Mead, Beth Ritter and Madison Beckley each received honors in the preseason. Mead was selected to the Big West Preseason All-Conference Team following a junior year that saw her score two goals and two assists. Ritter and Beckley were named to the College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big West Team. Last season, Ritter stepped-up when Makenna Henry was lost to an injury early on in the season and went on to post the third lowest goals against average in school history at 0.77 and eight shutouts. At one point, Ritter had five straight shutouts, the longest stretch in more than two decades. Beckley had five goals, three assists and 13 points. 

Other Key Returnees Populate Roster
Sara Feder, Miranda Cornejo and Angelisa Cortez are three more returnees who are key to Gaucho fortunes in 2014. Feder, a center midfielder, missed all of 2013 with injuries, but if she can return to the form that saw her earn Big West All-Freshman Team honors in 2012, it would be a major boost. As a freshman, she had four goals. Cornejo is the team's lone returning defensive starter. She will lead an otherwise young group, but a full-time starter since her freshman season, she is well-equipped to do so. Cortez will split time between a spot in the midfield and up front. She has scored three goals in each of her first two seasons and will look to build on those efforts.

Hoping To Go On The Offensive
The Gauchos will hope to become more productive on the offensive side of the field in 2014. Last season, they had 21 goals in 19 matches and were shutout five times. To get to that point, UCSB has moved senior Indiana Mead up front and paired her with talented freshman Amanda Ball.   

Hoping To Remain Defensive
While UCSB aspires to be more offensive – in a good way – than a year ago, a replica of last season's defensive effort would be a fine thing indeed. The Gauchos allowed a mere 17 goals in 19 contests in 2013, producing eight shutouts in the process. In 2014, they will, however, be trying to replace three of four starting defenders. The sole survivor of the defensive unit is Miranda Cornejo. Sydney Fuertes and Chace Schornstein, both of whom also play in the midfield, will contribute fullback line as well. Other names to look for are junior, Savannah Francis, sophomores Adrianna Nuñez, and Makenna Kummer, and freshmen Calah Simarago (Los Alamitos, Calif.) and Kate Shoemaker (San Diego). 

A Fresh New Face To Look For
While UCSB has several freshmen that will have an impact, the one that could have the biggest impact is Amanda Ball.  A forward from Chino Hills, Calif., Ball has earned a starting spot alongside Indiana Mead on the front line and

Stumpf Enters 16th Season
Paul Stumpf is entering his 16th season as the head coach of UCSB's women soccer program. He is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories with 137 with an overall record of 137-127-34. Under his guide, the program has gone to two NCAA Tournaments (2008 and 2009) and a pair of Big West regular season titles (2004 and 2005). Six of his players have been named Big West Offensive Player of the Year.