UCSB Moves On To Semifinals
May. 8, 2008
Denver, CO - The Gauchos pretty much repeated their regular season performance against 8th ranked Lindenwood in a 19-13 quarterfinal win at the WDIA National Championship Tournament in Denver. UCSB won the February 9th contest 19-9 at home. This time around in the national championship quarterfinal UCSB led 9-3 at halftime and were up 17-7 with 12 minutes remaining in the game with an 8-4 performance in the first 18 minutes of the second half. Lindenwood then took advantage of some liberal subbing by the Gauchos and went on a 6 goal run over a seven minute span against UCSB reserves to get to within 4 goals. Gaucho starters returned to the game and silenced the Lions by scoring 2 goals while holding them scoreless in the last 4 minutes and finished the game with the ball.
"Our reserves are among the best in the country," said head coach Paul Ramsey after the game, "but I may have been a little too ambitious clearing the bench against the 8th ranked team in the WDIA."
Ramsey was referring to the 6 goal run by Lindenwood but at this point in the season just being able to work reserves into a national quarterfinal game with a Top Ten team is a good sign for the program. At no other point before that was Lindenwood able to put more than two goals together back to back while the Gauchos scored on runs of 3, 5 and 4 straight goals, respectively.
Freshman Ashley Antoon-Algieri (San Ramon, CA) scored 5 goals and and had 1 assist to lead all scorers. It is the 12th time the Gauchos have had a different leading scorer in their 20 games so far this season. It was only 8 seconds into the game when Antoon-Algieri scored her first goal. A long draw by sophomore Maggie Aker (Oakland, CA) went straight to Antoon-Algieri at the restraining line and she was open on the way to goal with the catch. She neatly moved the Lindenwood goalie for an unassisted goal. Antoon-Algieri got her second goal with an assist from senior Megan Puckett (San Diego, CA) and then nabbed her hat trick on a free position shot 4:33 into the second half. Just prior to that goal she assisted senior Kristen Dickey (Davis, CA) on a nice feed off a dodge to goal.
Lindenwood was scouted as a dodging team without much of a feeding and cutting offense. So much for game planning. The Lions started off with two assisted goals beating UCSB with feeds from behind to cutters coming in from the top. The Gauchos reacted by fronting their cutters better and helping out on entry passes to limit Lindenwood to only one more goal the rest of the half. That was 23 minutes where UCSB held Lindenwood to one goal while scoring 8 of their own. For the game, senior Emily Ruby (Davis, CA) had 3 goals while Aker, Dickey, junior Katie Moran (San Rafael, CA), sophomore Michelle Davis (San Diego, CA) and freshman Alyssa Nelsen (Denver, CO) had 2 goals apiece. Sophomore Samantha Lutz (San Diego, CA) had 1 goal and 1 assist and Puckett had 2 assists. Ruby got her 50th point of the season with her 2nd goal of the game, scored during the first half. She is the 4th Gaucho to reach the 50 point plateau. Eleven UCSB players have contributed 20 or more points so far this season.
Junior Alyssa Capuano (Stonybrook, NY) led the defense with 5 ground balls and 5 caused turnovers. Capuano drew the task of marking lefty attacker Laura Bolund of Lindenwood but still found room to knock down some passes and scoop up loose balls. Senior Kristyn Gherardi (San Mateo, CA) made her first appearance after two weeks recovering from a calf strain suffered early in the WWLL Championship game vs. Cal Poly SLO on April 20th. Gherardi had her normal fine game at the defensive end with 3 ground balls and 5 caused turnovers and ran the field well.
"It's nice to have Kristyn back in the line-up so we're at full strength going into the semifinals," commented Ramsey.
UCSB improved to 20-0 overall and 18-0 in the WDIA. The Gauchos will play 4th ranked Cal Poly SLO (12-6 overall) in a WDIA Championship semifinal on May 9th. The game with the Mustangs is at 2:30pm at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. 5th seeded Cal Poly SLO was successful in their quarterfinal with 4th seeded Michigan, proving their national ranking was accurate and their seeding was not. The Mustangs beat the Wolverines 11-5 in their quarterfinal contest. That was about the score when UCSB played Michigan on February 16th. The Gauchos led 7-1 at half-time and won 13-8.
It is the 3rd time this season UCSB and Cal Poly SLO have met. The Gauchos prevailed 10-8 in San Luis Obispo on April 5th and came from being down 6-3 at halftime to catch the Mustangs at 11-11 in regulation before winning on a goal in the second overtime at the WWLL Championship game on April 20th.
Ramsey reports the team is looking forward to the semifinal with the Mustangs. "We have such great respect for what they've done in the past when they get to this tournament that it's fueling us," said Ramsey. "I see no sign of trepidation from anyone on our team."
On the other side of the bracket Colorado State defeated Pittsburgh 12-3 and University of Colorado beat Santa Clara 13-9. This other semifinal also marks the third time Colorado State and Colorado have played. CSU won both times with a 11-6 win on March 8th and a 7-5 overtime win on April 26th.
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