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Gauchos Upset 2nd Ranked Santa Clara

Box Score

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly Mar. 8, 2009

Ashley Antoon-AlgieriSanta Clara, CA - UCSB shut out second ranked Santa Clara during the second half of a road game en route to a 12-4 win to improve to 10-2 overall and 7-0 against Western Women's Lacrosse League teams. The Gauchos are in the middle of a tough three game slate of away contests but they're pulling it off so far. The third ranked Gauchos beat Chico State on Saturday so they've successfully squared off with #20 and #2 on the road and have #18 Pepperdine coming up on Saturday. It might be the most difficult run of games on the road UCSB has faced in two seasons but the Gauchos have been lining them up and knocking them down since setbacks in February to 4th ranked Michigan and 6th ranked Georgia, both one goal losses. The UCSB win over #2 combined with 7th ranked Colorado State upsetting 1st ranked Colorado, Boulder in an 8-5 win on Saturday might put UCSB in the top spot come Wednesday when the WDIA Top 25 Poll is released.

After hearing about the CSU upset of Colorado second year UCSB coach Paul Ramsey commented about the possibility of getting the top spot in the rankings. "That would be nice but I'm just pleased we're playing good lacrosse right now and the team's enjoying themselves," he said.

The Broncos took a 2-0 lead on an unassisted goal by Krista Shaw (Denver, CO) and a free position shot by Jenna Choquette (North Kingstown, RI) seven minutes into the game. After an unassisted goal by UCSB sophomore Alyssa Nelsen (Denver, CO) the Gauchos used a time-out to regroup and talk about what Santa Clara was doing on offense and what they were doing on defense. Adjustments aside, though, the Gauchos started hustling and winning draw controls and ground balls. The UCSB defense tied up the Santa Clara offense and the Gauchos were off to the races.

"We were after loose balls in groups of two and three players at a time," echoed Ramsey.  "That's the compliment the Santa Clara coach gave us after the game."

The result was UCSB outscoring Santa Clara 6-2 the rest of the first half and 12-2 the rest of the game. It helped that when the Gauchos gained all those possessions the UCSB offense started finding each other in front of the Santa Clara goal and giving their teammates good feeds. The Gauchos finished with 8 assisted goals for a 67% ratio of assisted goals. With three of their other four goals coming on free position 8 meter shots the yield was 8 of 9 goals from the field being assisted.

"That's tough to stop, even for a goalie as good as Renee," commented Ramsey.

Santa Clara First-Team All-American goal keeper Renee Eligio (South San Francisco, CA) season save percentage before this game was 64.9%. The sophomore finished with nine saves for 42.8% while forced to face shots that moved her and shots she couldn't really see, those coming off  entry passes in transition and feeds from behind the goal. Meanwhile, UCSB freshman goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, CA) built on her 2 saves in the first half and was 8 for 8 in the second half, leading to the second frame shut-out of the Broncos. The Gauchos defense started at the Santa Clara end of the field with UCSB attackers riding their clear and taking the ball away more times than the statisticians could track.

"That was the best I've seen it," said Ramsey after the game of the team's re-defending and midfielder and defender ball denial that frustrated the Broncos attempts to clear the ball. 

"We've been stressing an 'every player plays defense' strategy and everyone has bought into it," explained Ramsey.

Having the ball that much gave UCSB attacker Ashley Antoon-Algieri (San Ramon, CA) the opportunity to set a personal record at the college level with 5 assists.  The sophomore also contributed a goal when freshman Megan Dawe (Martinez, CA) fed her in transition off a UCSB caused turn-over and ground ball and quick look up the field. Nelsen, who started UCSB off on scoring at the beginning of the game, and junior Maggie Aker (Oakland, CA) each scored three goals for UCSB. Senior midfielder Katie Moran (San Rafael, CA) caused 6 turnovers and scooped up 4 ground balls while scoring two goals. Junior Monora Seth (San Diego, CA) had 4 caused turnovers and 4 ground balls.

UCSB improves to 10-2 while Santa Clara drops to 8-2. The Gauchos are next in action at 18th ranked Pepperdine on Saturday in a 1:00pm game.


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