Gauchos Take 4-0 Record North to Play USF Friday, Cal Sunday

Mallory Hromatko (Photo by James Colon)
Mallory Hromatko (Photo by James Colon)

The Schedule
Game No. 5
Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at University of San Francisco Dons
At USF's Negoesco Stadium 

Game No. 6
Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Cal Golden Bears
At Cal's Edwards Stadium
TV: Pac 12 Network

Season Tickets Available
Season tickets for UCSB women's and men's soccer matches are available now. There are several affordable packages. For information or to purchase season tickets, call 805-893-UCSB, stop by the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or click here. Remember, UCSB hosts the 2018 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup on Dec. 7 and 9. 

Cal Game Set for Pac 12 Network
UCSB's 3:00 p.m. game against Cal on Sept. 2 will be televised by the Pac 12 Network.

The Gauchos opened the season with a pair of neutral site games in Las Vegas before returning home for two games on Meredith Field at Harder Stadium last weekend. This week, UCSB embarks on a lengthy stretch without playing a home game. First up will be San Francisco (Aug. 31) and Cal (Sept. 2), next week will see a game at Fresno State (Sept. 6) and the following week the team will travel to the Beehive State (That's Utah for those of you that don't know state nicknames.) for games at Weber State (Sept. 14) and Utah State (Sept. 16). The Gauchos will finally return home on Sept. 21 to host Pepperdine, the first of three consecutive home contests. 

Gauchos Jump Out to 4-0 Start
UCSB opened its season in successful fashion with a pair of wins over Sacramento State and Illinois-Chicago at the UNLV Invitational. Last weekend, the Gauchos continued their winning ways with home victories over Boise State (3-0) and Brown University (1-0), improving their record to a perfect 4-0. UCSB has started the season with four straight wins just two times in the last 25 seasons and just five times in the program's history. The last time the Gauchos went 4-0 was in 2016.

UCSB Jumps to Seventh in Regional Ranking
After week one of the season, the Gauchos jumped into the United Soccer Coaches West Regional ranking at No. 10. After improving to 4-0 last weekend, UCSB jumped three spots and into a tie with Cal State Fullerton for No. 7. Santa Clara, which the Gauchos will host on Sunday, Sept. 23, is ranked No. 1 in the regional poll. Pepperdine, which is ranked No. 2, will invade Harder Stadium on Sept. 21. Long Beach State and UC Irvine, both of the Big West Conference, are third and fourth respectively. 

UCSB Duo Sweeps Big West's Weekly Honors
A pair of Gaucho players swept this week's Big West Conference honors with Shaelan Murison earning the league's Offensive Player of the Week award and Mallory Hromatko winning the Defensive Player of the Week accolade. Murison scored UCSB's first goal in its 3-0 win over Boise State on Aug. 4 and then the team's only goal in a 1-0 win over Brown two days later. Hromatko was stellar defensively in both shutouts and it was her perfect cross that set-up Murison for the game-winning goal against the Brown. 

Murison Goal Scoring Streak Reaches Three
Junior Shaelan Murison is off to an outstanding start to the 2018 season. Murison enters Friday's game at San Francisco with four goals and two assists for 10 points. She paces the Big West Conference in goals and points and she has scored at least one goal in three consecutive games. In Sunday's win over Brown, the Santa Clara native scored her goal in the fourth minute to remove any intrigue about whether she would extend the streak or not. Late in the second half of the game, Murison cracked heads with Bear player and she needed stitches to close a gash above her eye. She is, however, expected to play this weekend. In her career, she has now scored 11 goals and seven assists for 29 points, a figure which moves her into a tie for 31st on the school's all-time points list.

Hromatko's Transition to Defender Has Been a Smooth One
Senior Mallory Hromatko played forward and midfield her first three seasons at UCSB. As a freshman she scored nine goals, was a First Team All-Big West selection and the league's Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, Hromatko was an honorable mention all-league selection. Last year, she didn't score a goal, but had three assists. In 2018, however, she was shifted to a defender position and has flourished, helping UCSB to a 13-1 goal advantage over its opponents thru four matches. In addition, the Danville, Calif., native leads the team and the Big West with four assists. In her career, Hromatko has produced 13 goals, 15 assists and 41 points, the 18th most in school history. 

Shooting Gallery
UCSB is outshooting its opponents at a ridiculous rate. Thru four games, the Gauchos have produced 85 total shots, including 42 on goal, while opponents have 20 total shots and 11 on frame. Overall, they are averaging 21.25 shots per game while the opposition is averaging 5.0 per contest. Their average is nearly six more than the second closest Big West team, Cal Poly, which is averaging 15.33 shots per outing.   

Cornering the Market
The Gauchos are not only prolific in terms of shots and shots on goal, they are also pretty darn prolific at creating corner kicks. Thru four games, Santa Barbara has taken 44 corner kicks, the most of any Big West school, and 34 more than the opponents. Senior defender Ryan Kokoska regularly takes the corners and all the extra work she's gotten in jogging from her position on the backline to the corner has put her in the best shape of her career. Actually, that's pure speculation, but either way, she's doing a lot of extra running. 

Climbing the Hill
Freshman Natalie Hill has won the job of starting goalkeeper for the Gauchos. The Palo Alto, Calif., native has started every match, playing 371:24 of a possible 378:00. While Hill has not faced an onslaught of shots, she has stopped nine of the 10 that have come her way. Since she allowed a goal in the season opening win over Sacramento State, she has recorded 278:59 of shutout soccer.

Seven Goal Outburst is Largest in 14 Years
The seven goals that UCSB scored in its 7-0 win over Illinois-Chicago on Aug. 19 were the most since an 8-2 victory over UNC-Charlotte on Sept. 10, 2004 and it was just the 11th time in school history that the Gauchos have scored seven or more goals in a game and just the fifth since the 1991 season. Also, the seven-goal margin was the program's largest since an 8-0 win over Idaho on Oct. 31, 2003.

Scoring Depth
Thru just four games, UCSB has had seven different players score at least one goal and four have scored two or more. In addition to Shaelan Murison (4), Christine Maurer (2), Jessica Clegg (2) and Jessica Wright (2) have scored multiple goals. Also, seven different players have assists, led by Mallory Hromatko with four. Murison, Katherine Sheehy and Ryan Kokoska each have a pair of assists. In all, 11 different Gaucho players have scored at least one point this season. 

The Stumpf File
UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf is in his 20th season at UCSB. Stumpf has the most women's soccer coaching victories in school history and he will enter Friday's game at San Francisco with an overall record of 179-156-44. He is a two-time Big West Conference Coach of the Year (1999 and 2015) and he guided the Gauchos to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2008 and 2009.