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UCSB Surges to Get Past Claremont

Box Score

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly May. 1, 2009

Sam LutzSanta Barbara, CA - UCSB came back from being down four different times at the hands of the NCAA DIII Claremont Colleges team to finally go up for the first time at 11-10 with 17 minutes remaining in the game. UCSB won  16-14 but the Gauchos were down 3-0 in the first 8 minutes before senior Katie Moran (San Rafael, CA) converted a free position shot at 8:43 into the contest. Claremont, top ranked in the west region for NCAA DIII teams and 12-1 overall coming into the game, started out looking like they could do no wrong. They seemed to be open all over the place and their first three shots on goal all resulted in scores. After Moran made it 3-1 with her 8 meter opportunity the Athenas scored another one about 3 minutes later and went up 4-1. A UCSB run of three straight goals tied it at 4-4 but then Claremont went up 6-4 with two assisted goals. UCSB rallied to tie it by half time with two assisted goals of their own.

"We started out tentative, or at least looked like we were tentative," said head coach Paul Ramsey after the game. "Once we got a goal I think it gave us a little life and we just started playing."

The middle 30 or so minutes of play were a lot of back and forth action with Claremont matching whatever UCSB put up with the same number. To start the second half the Athenas scored two straight and went up 8-6. Eventually it was 10-9 in favor of Claremont before the Gauchos broke the game open with 4 unanswered goals. The first one of the run came at 11:10 into the second half and was a Sam Lutz (San Diego, CA) scorcher feed to Moran that tied it at 10-10. Then Lutz scored unassisted at 13:06 by stripping a Claremont defender trying to clear the ball, beating her to the ground ball and then beating her to the Claremont goal. Just 58 seconds later freshman Meg Cruse (San Diego, CA) beat her player backdoor and Lutz assisted her for a goal. UCSB went up 12-10 in 2:54 of game time and Lutz had a hand in all three goals. Junior Maggie Aker (Oakland, CA) scored unassisted 21 seconds later and UCSB was up 13-10 by breaking the game open on hustle, effort and teamwork plays. Lutz finished with 3 goals and 3 assists to nab game high scoring honors. 

Despite the pressure of playing the highly touted Claremont team the Gauchos went with what they've done all year. Everyone got into the game for UCSB. The offense shared the ball and the result was 8 different UCSB players having at least a goal or an assist. The defense rallied and started covering cutters better and rotating as a unit to make the Athenas work for their goals. The faster Claremont team was constantly open in transition and that stressed the UCSB defense more than at any point so far this year but individual defenders made big plays when it was needed until the rest of the defense could gell. Freshman goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, CA) had 4 of her 7 saves in the second half and turned Claremont away with three straight saves at just the right time to put UCSB in position to make their 4 goal run that broke the game open.

"It was great to get a competitive game in during our stretch of time off before Nationals," said Ramsey about the 15 days without a game UCSB would have had if they hadn't had the Claremont game.  "This will really help us in Arizona."

UCSB opens play at the US Lacrosse WDIA National Championship Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday, May 6th, with a 1:00pm game against the club from West Chester University. The tournament is a one game a day format and success in the first round will put UCSB in the quarterfinals against the winner of the Michigan versus UCLA first round game.


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