Nov. 8, 2009
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - When UC Santa Barbara won the Big West Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 2008, it ended a 17-year drought.
This time, the wait wasn't that long.
For the second year in a row, the UCSB women's soccer team has won the Big West Tournament and will advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Gauchos defeated Cal Poly in a penalty kick shootout, 5-4, after the teams battled to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime.
"I am very happy to be back in the NCAA Tournament," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "These players worked so hard to get back and for them to get rewarded like this is fantastic."
The title game against the Mustangs seemed to mirror the season for the Gauchos. They had to battle back after falling behind early.
Cal Poly blanked UCSB by a 2-0 score a week ago to secure the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. The loss in Santa Barbara also dropped the Gauchos into the No. 3 spot, meaning that they had to travel to Cal State Northridge for the first round. A 2-1 win over the Matadors set-up the rematch with the Mustangs.
Cal Poly took a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute when Morgan Miller took a feed from Bianca Burright from the left side, Miller made one touch and fired into an open net.
In the 69th minute UCSB scored the equalizer when Katy Roby dribbled past two Mustang defenders after a quick feed from Cory Yoshida. Roby took her shot from the right side, crossing, and finding the left side of the net. It was the first goal Cal Poly goalie Coral Hoover has allowed since Oct. 4, a total of 747 minutes of shutout soccer.
"Katy pulled us out of the fire again," Stumpf said. "She has done that before and it was huge for us today."
The closing minutes saw multiple scoring chances by both teams, but a point-blank shot by Jacqui Simon in the 76th minute from 10 yards out was the best forcing a Coral Hoover diving save.
In the 88th minute a cross from the right side to Genelle Ives at the far post had Hoover out of position but she missed on her timing and the ball went off the back of her leg.
Neither team had scoring opportunities in either over time and the game moved to PK's
Cal Poly's Whitney Sisler took the first PK and pulled the ball left, wide of the post, proving to be the game decider. All others drove home their balls without a touch. For Cal Poly it was Kaleena Andruss, Morgan Miller, Bianca Burright and Orand Mckenzie.
The penalty kick win sends UCSB to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time.
"This season has been the ultimate rollercoaster ride," Stumpf said. "We had the high expectations coming in and then, three games into the season, we had lost six really important players and things got tough."
The Gauchos struggled through much of the first half of the season. They, did, however, get back on-track as league play began. After suffering a dismal 3-0 loss at UC Irvine to open Big West play, things turned around.
"We got beat so badly at Irvine," Stumpf began, "But, to the credit of the players and the coaching staff, we stuck to the program and took the attitude of `never say die. We've come a long way from that."
Following the loss to the Anteaters, UCSB went on a run of six straight unbeaten Big West games, going 5-0-1 over that span. The run ended when the Mustangs beat the Gauchos 2-0 on Nov. 1. The loss to Cal Poly pushed the Gauchos down to the No. 3 seed.
This marks the second year in a row that the Gauchos have knocked-out Cal Poly on penalty kicks. In 2008, UCSB used penalty kick shootouts to defeat both the Mustangs, in the first round, and Long Beach State, in the final.
Roby, who scored the goal to tie the match in the 69th-minute, was awarded the MVP of the game.
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.