UCSB Remains Perfect, Blanks UNLV 2-0

Shaelan Murison scored the game-winning goal late in the second half on Wednesday night. (Photo by Even Kokoska)
Shaelan Murison scored the game-winning goal late in the second half on Wednesday night. (Photo by Even Kokoska)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A pair of first half goals was enough for UC Santa Barbara in a 2-0 victory over UNLV on Sunday afternoon. The victory extended the team's season-opening winning streak to seven in a row and its shutout streak to six-straight games.

The Gauchos (7-0-0) jumped out to a 1-0 lead over UNLV (5-2-0) in the 24th minute when Madeline Gibson took a nice feed from Mallory Hromatko and went in on the right side of the box. Gibson's powerful shot was saved by UNLV goalkeeper Jordan Sallee, but Amanda Ball was right there to put the rebound home for her seventh goal of the season.

UCSB scored its second goal at the 33:46 mark when Ashley Dean threaded a perfect pass to freshman Shaelan Murison in the box and the freshman forward poked the ball into the left side for her first career goal. 

"Shae is a goal scorer," said head coach Paul Stumpf. "Getting on the scoresheet with her first assist on Friday and now her first goal today, it probably takes a little pressure off of her. She is a really good soccer player. She's calm and composed on the ball, and we're starting to see what she can do."

Sophomore Brittney Rogers won her sixth straight match and has yet to be scored upon in nearly 545 minutes this season. But she needed a pair of big saves in the second half to remain perfect. 

The first outstanding save came in the 50th minute when UNLV's Susie Bernal got her head on a perfect cross, directing it into the right post, however Rogers reacted instantaneously and poked the ball over the cross bar. The second save came in the 87th minute when Isabelle Delgado came in on the right side of the box, got past a UCSB defender and drove a hard shot that Rogers caught, preserving the shutout. 

"We challenged them in the locker room to put together 90 minutes of real hard, organized and intelligent defending and I think we did that," Stumpf said. "I was a little surprised because they hadn't played in a week and we played Friday night, but I was very impressed. It speaks highly of our whole team defense philosophy and our understanding of what we're trying to do. We possessed the ball 64-percent of the time, which means we only had to defend 36-percent, and that helps too. 

UCSB outshot the Rebels 11-7, including 4-2 on frame.

The 7-0-0 record to open the season matches the second longest streak to begin a season in UCSB history. The last time the program opened a year with seven consecutive victories was in 1990. The 1989 team opened the year with 12-straight wins. In addition, the run of shutouts ties the longest stretch in school history, originally set in 1989. 

The Gauchos, who are 20-4-0 in their last 24 games, will hit the road for their next four games. They will play at Texas-San Antonio on Friday, Sept. 16 and the University of Texas on Sunday, Sept. 18. Their next home game will also be their Big West Conference opener at 2:00 p.m. Oct. 2 against Hawai'i at Harder Stadium.