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Gauchos Go 2-2 at CAL Play-Day

Box Score

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly Feb. 1, 2009

Alyssa NelsenBerkeley, CA - The UCSB 'A' Team competed in the CAL Play-Day at UC Berkeley and came away 2-2 in four 25 minute scrimmages against three NCAA Division I programs and a WWLL counterpart. The NCAA teams were Fresno State, St. Mary's and Stanford. They compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. A morning opener with Chico State of the WWLL was a 7-1 success for UCSB. The Wildcats were the only college-club opponent of the day for the Gauchos. Three consecutive NCAA / MPSF opponents followed, including a back to back on the schedule that pitted UCSB against first year NCAA program Fresno State and, five minutes later, against three-time MPSF Tournament Champion Stanford.  A 4-1 loss to St. Mary's was followed by a 4-2 win over Fresno. Five minutes after playing Fresno, and with a quick transfer of players, coaches and fans from Maxwell Field into Memorial Stadium, UCSB raced out to a 3-0 lead on the Cardinal.

The first scrimmage against an NCAA team was a loss to St. Mary's. It started with an  Ashley Antoon-Algieri (San Ramon, CA) UCSB draw control, some nice passing and a good possession on offense with several good looks at the goal. Two key saves by Gaels goal keeper Hillary Gardner (San Jose, CA) turned the Gauchos back and put them on defense. That led to a UCSB defensive stand that held St. Mary's scoreless through several minutes before they broke through for a goal. The Gaels got up 4-0 before junior Samantha Lutz (San Diego, CA) pulled of a nice inside roll doge for an unassisted goal to get UCSB to within three and the final score was 4-1.

A lunch break in the schedule was a prelude to the Fresno State scrimmage which resulted in a favorable 4-2 score for UCSB but everyone pretty much seemed eager for it to end so they could get back inside Memorial Stadium to face Stanford. Not only were the Gauchos in the position of playing back to back but it was UCSB's fourth and final scrimmage while Stanford was only entering their third. Neither team scored first time down on each of their possessions but then UCSB scored three straight goals to lead 3-0 about ten minutes into the scrimmage. UCSB Freshman  Maegan Cruse (San Diego, CA) put the first one in and sophomore  Alyssa Nelsen (Denver, CO) followed with two goals in two UCSB possessions. Stanford shots were consistently denied by freshman goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, CA). A scoreless period of about five minutes was then abruptly changed by the Cardinal. At that point Stanford either turned it on or the Gauchos started to run out of steam playing back to back scrimmages with their second coming against the best NCAA program in the west. The Cardinal reeled off five straight goals while hampering UCSB efforts at clearing the ball. Centner continued to make saves but Stanford kept riding hard and getting the ball back for multiple chances.

"We gained a ton of experience against some good teams here today," commented head coach  Paul Ramsey after it was all over. "I'd like to be able to play these teams more often." 

The Gauchos held their opponents to a combined 12 goals in four scrimmages for an average of 3 goals allowed per 25 minute contest. Increase that count to roughly account for full game time and UCSB  allowed approximately 7 to 8 goals against some of the top NCAA teams in the western United States. UCSB also scored 15 goals with 8 of them coming against three NCAA Division One teams.  It got noticed too.

Stanford still had a scrimmage to go, among their four for the day, against Fresno State. when UCSB had already packed it up to head home. Following their final scrimmage Stanford coach Amy Bokker sent a text to Ramsey saying, "You can tell your team that they scored more against us than all three of our other opponents combined." Stanford outscored St. Mary's 7-0, UC Berkeley 6-2 and Fresno State 12-0. Those totals also mean that UCSB held Stanford to fewer goals than any of their other opponents.

Ramsey added, "The team chemistry improved and our defense really gelled, perhaps even more than last weekend considering we were facing some pretty heady competition."

UCSB next faces NCAA Division III programs Pomona-Pitzer Colleges and University of Redlands in the Orange County Showcase on February 7th as they continue to prepare for their WDIA opener with Michigan in Harder Stadium at 6pm on February 13th.


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