MORAGA, Calif. - St. Mary's took advantage of two early defensive lapses by UC Santa Barbara to score a pair of early goals en route to a 2-0 win on Friday afternoon.
While the Gauchos outshot the Gaels 17-5, they were unable to overcome two first half counterattacks tha proved decisive.
"We played two bad balls out of the back early and they put together two good counters," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "That was the difference."
Gaels midfielder Jessica Imbrie assisted on both goals. On the first, in the 13th minute, she crossed a ball from the right sideline into the middle of the pitch. Hanah Diaz, who was behind the defense, settled it and pushed a shot to the right of Gaucho goalkeeper Beth Ritter, giving her team a 1-0 lead.
Less than four minutes later, Imbrie assisted on another goal as she got the ball to Dion Samantha at the right side near the top of the box. Samantha juked left and then sent a shot into the lower left side the goal, making the score 2-0.
The score remained 2-0 the rest of the way. The Gauchos peppered St. Mary's 'keeper Julia McDonald much of the second half, outshooting the Gaels 14-1, but they couldn't hit paydirt. McDonald made six of her seven saves in the final 45 minutes. Ritter was unpressured much of the match and never recorded a save.
"This was a very frustrating loss," Stumpf said. "The stats speak for themselves. We had a 60-40 possession difference and an 10-1 cornerkick advantage and in the end, it didn't matter. It's very frustrating."
Santa Barbara will remain on the road to open the 2015 season. The Gauchos travel to the University of San Francisco on Sunday, Aug. 23 to play the Dons in a 1:00 pm match at Stephen Negoesco Field.
UCSB will play its home opener on Friday, Aug. 28 when it hosts San Jose State in a 5:00 p.m. match at Harder Stadium. That match will precede a Gaucho men's match against Stanford.