September 26, 2007

Gauchos Take Two-Game Winning Streak into Friday Match at No. 18 Washington State

Sept. 26, 2007

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The Schedule
Friday, September 28, 2007 at 3:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara at Washington State
at WSU's Lower Soccer Field

Sunday, September 30, 2007 at 12:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. San Diego State
at Gonzaga's Martin Field

The Week Ahead
UC Santa Barbara will play its final matches before opening Big West Conference play the following weekend. The Gauchos will travel to the Pacific Northwest for a pair of matches. On Friday, UCSB will travel to Pullman, Wash., to take on Washington State. The Cougars are ranked as high as 18th nationally by Soccer America and 23rd by Soccer Buzz. They are 5-1-1 on the season with their only loss coming at UNLV, a team that the Gauchos tied 1-1. On Sunday, UCSB will play Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The Bulldogs are 5-2 on the season and have won four straight since opening the year with a 1-2 record.

The Gauchos Hit 25
The 2007 season is the the 25th intercollegiate campaign for the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer program. The Gauchos first laced up their shoes as an intercollegiate program in 1983. Prior to 1983, UCSB had been a club program.

On The Record
UCSB enters play this week with a record of 3-3-2. After opening the season with a 1-0 win over Loyola Marymount on Aug. 31, the Gauchos dropped three in a row before posting a pair of home ties against Denver and UNLV. Last week, Santa Barbara won consecutive games at Cal State Bakersfield (3-0) and at home against San Diego State (2-1). The home victory over the Aztecs came in double overtime with the game-winning score crossing the line in the 108th minute. Last week's wins extend UCSB's unbeatten string to four straight games.

On The Stumpf
Paul Stumpf is in his ninth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barbara. He enters this week's action with a record of 84-62-19. His total of 84 wins ranks second on UCSB's all-time list. Last season, he guided the Gauchos to a 7-7-6 overall record, including a 5-1-1 record in the Big West, good enough to tie for the regular season championship. Stumpf has led the program to records of .500 or better in six of the last seven seasons, including four straight seasons of 10 or more victories, the first time the program accomplished that feat since 1988-91. In 1999, Stumpf's first season as the head coach at UCSB, he took a team that was selected to finish last in the conference, but instead posted an 8-9-1 overall record and a 5-4 mark in the Big West. Following the season, he was chosen as the Big West's Coach of the Year. He has, in fact, guided the Gauchos to a top-three league finish in six of the last seven seasons. Before arriving in Santa Barbara as an assistant coach in 1998, Stumpf spent two seasons as an assistant at Humboldt State. In addition, the San Diego native spent several years coaching club teams in the Santa Rosa area.

Working Overtime Finally Pays Off
In 2006, UCSB set a school record with six ties. In fact, the six ties equaled the total that the team accumulated in the three previous years. In 2006, the Gauchos went to overtime six times and finished tied six times. In 2007, through the first eight games of the year, UCSB has gone to overtime four times, all in the last five games, losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, tying UNLV and Denver, and defeating San Diego State. The overtime win over the Aztecs was the program's first since Sept. 18, 2005, when the Gauchos scored in extra time to defeat George Washington, 1-0.

Strength In Numbers
Due to a variety of injuries and illnesses, the Gauchos have been forced to play numerous players this season. UCSB has used 26 of the 32 players on its roster through the first eight games. In addition, 18 different players have been in the starting lineup of at least one contest. Finally, the Gauchos have played 12 freshmen in 2007 and seven of those have made at least one start.

A Shot In The Arm
Through its first five matches in 2007, UCSB had its troubles generating much offense. Not only did the Gauchos score just five goals over the first five, they attempted just 41 shots, an average of 8.2 per game. In fact, until the fifth game, a 0-0 tie with Denver, UCSB had not attempted more than nine shots. Against the Pioneers, the Gauchos had 11 shots and they have now been in double-figures in five straight. In the last three games, Santa Barbara has scored six goals, an average of 2.0 per contest, and has had 47 shots, 15.7 per match. In the overtime win over San Diego State, UCSB had a season-high 19 shots, 11 of which were on goal.

If You Can't Shoot, You Can't Score
While the Gauchos have seen their offensive opportunities increase in the last several matches, the teams defense started to stifle the opposition. In the three-game losing streak that preceded the current four-game unbeaten streak, UCSB allowed 45 shots, 15.3 per game, but in the last four the backline has really tightened up. While the Gauchos have seen their number of shots increase in recent games, their opponents have seen theirs diminish. In the last four matches, the opposition has had just 29 shots, an average of 7.2 per outing. In fact, the dangerous scoring opportunities have been few and far between as Denver, UNLV, Cal State Bakersfield and San Diego State have collected just 10 total shots on goal in the four games, 2.5 per game. In the last two games, both wins, Bakersfield and SDSU combined for three shots on goal, a mere 1.5 per game. Making the recent defensive surge even more impressive is the fact that three of the four games have gone to overtime, giving the opponents an extra 58 minutes to collect shots. On the year, the Gauchos have now outshot their opponents by a count of 88-81, and they have outscored them by a 9-8 margin.

Romy Wasn't Built In A Day
According to head coach Paul Stumpf, senior midfielder Romy Barber returned for the 2007 season in the best shape of her career. Still, while she was expected to play a greater role than she did in 2006, she probably wasn't expected to be the "go-to" player on offense. Barber entered the 2007 season having played in 36 career matches, starting four. In the 36 matches, she had scored one goal and no assists. This year, Barber has played in all eight matches, started five, and she has scored three goals. In fact, since she did not score in the first two matches this season, she has scored three in the last six, including one in each of the last two. Barber is one of two Gauchos, freshman Kailyn Kugler is the other, to have scored multiple goals this season. Finally, Barber's goals have been scored on just nine shot attempts, a shot percentage of 33.3.

Katie Has The Wright Stuff
By allowing just three goals in the last five matches, a span of nearly 508 minutes, senior goalkeeper Katie Wright has seen her goals against average drop back below the 1.00 mark. Wright's goals against average for the season is now 0.91. In her career, the native of Mission Viejo has a 0.88 goals against average, a mark that places her second on UCSB's all-time career list. Wright also has three shutouts this season and now has eight in her career, the seventh most in school history.

Big West Right Around The Corner
Sunday's game at Gonzaga will be the last before the beginning of Big West Conference play. The Gauchos open league competition on Friday, Oct. 5 when they host two-time defending league tournament champion Cal State Fullerton in a 7:00 p.m. game at Harder Stadium. On Sunday, Oct. 7, UCSB hosts UC Riverside in a 1:00 p.m. game at Harder Stadium

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