SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team opened Big West Conference play with a result that it became accustomed to during the non-conference portion of the schedule, a 3-2 win over visiting Hawaii.
UCSB (10-1-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big West) built a 2-0 lead, watched the Rainbow Wahine (7-3-1, 0-2) tie the score in 84th minute and then responded with a game-winner less than two minutes later for the win.
With the score knotted at 2-2 Mallory Hromatko took the ball on the left side of the box and hit a cross to Madeline Gibson who drove the ball past goalkeeper Monk Berger. The goal, which came at 85:59, was Gibson's second of the season.
Hawaii threatened in the waning minutes and almost got the equalizer in the 88th minute when Raisa Strom-Okimoto crushed a shot from the top of the circle that Gaucho goalkeeper Jacq Caginia punched over the top of the crossbar.
At the outset of the match, UCSB wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they scored off of a corner kick for one of the few times this season.
At the 1:37 mark Madeline Gibson took the corner, crossing the ball to Kate Shoemaker who flicked it to Amanda Ball. Ball guided it past Berger for her ninth goal of the season giving UCSB a 1-0 lead.
The Gauchos threatened often over the final 43 minutes of the first half but Monk was up to the task with five saves. The most dangerous chance came in the 16th minute with Sydney Magnin got behind the defense and launched a shot from point blank range that was punched over the crossbar by Berger.
Hawaii its best first half opportunity in the 41st minute when Sonest Furtado snuck in behind the UCSB defensive unit and went 1-on-1 with Caginia but her shot was just outside the left post.
Santa Barbara made it 2-0 in 57th minute when Hawaii was called for a dangerous play in the box resulting in an indirect free kick from about 14 yards out. On the indirect free kick, Dakota Griggs tapped the ball to Magnin who closed the deal when she arced a shot over the Rainbow Wahine wall and into the right side of the goal.
Hawaii broke through in the 67th minute when Strom-Okimoto hit a corner kick towards the far post, finding Tia Furuta who pounded a shot inside the left post to make the score 2-1.
The Rainbow Wahine tied the score at the 84:00 mark when Furuta placed a perfect through-ball to Addie Steiner who was running down the middle of the field. Steiner eluded the Gaucho defenders and scored to the right of a diving Caginia.
UCSB dominated the match statistically, holding a 17-10 edge in shots overall, 9-4 in shots on goal and a 16-4 advantage in corner kicks.
The Gauchos will return to Harder Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 6 when they host Cal State Northridge in a 5:00 p.m. match that will be followed by a men's match against UC Irvine that will kickoff at 7:30 p.m.