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UCSB Falls to Colorado State 10-7 in National Semifinal

Box Score

Bookmark and Share Printer Friendly May. 6, 2011

UCSB File PhotoScottsdale, AZ - Colorado State beat UCSB 10-7 in a WCLA National Championship Tournament semifinal at the Scottsdale Sports Complex, marking the second year in a row that CSU has eliminated the Gauchos from national championship contention. The Rams won 8-7 over UCSB in the quarterfinals last season.

The Rams advance to the national championship game for the third time in four years and will face UCLA at 1:00pm on Saturday. The Bruins upset 4th seeded Santa Clara 13-12 in overtime in the other WCLA semifinal. The final will feature the 6th seed, CSU, versus the 9th seed, UCLA, in a tournament that was full of upsets. The 7th seeded Gauchos upset 2nd seeded Florida in overtime to make it to the semifinal matchup with Colorado State.

UCSB rallied from being down 3-6 at the half to score three straight goals and tie it at 6-6 with 12:50 remaining in the game. The Gauchos held the Rams scoreless for more than 20 minutes until CSU finally broke through to score with 9:11 remaining in the game. Another goal put CSU up 8-6 but UCSB answered back with 6:07 remaining to pull within one. That was it for the UCSB offense, though, and while the Gauchos were extending out on defense Colorado State scored two more, including their 10th goal with 52 seconds left.

Junior goalie Jeni Centner had 12 saves to keep UCSB in the game. Over the 20 plus minute CSU scoreless stretch she made 8 straight saves to stymie the Rams. The two teams took 23 shots apiece over the course of the entire game so opportunities were even but UCSB was 6 of 15 on shots from the field and 1 for 8 on free position shots for 30.4% shooting.

"We held them to 10 goals and did a great job on defense and in the cage for the majority of this game," said UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey.

"Maybe in some ways there are one or two of those 10 scores we could dissect but really we needed to finish more of our opportunities on offense." 

As in the past when anyone plays late or post-season against the Colorado State zone defense it causes problems for opposing offenses. A defender is always on ball anywhere it's on the field while the other six defenders wait in assigned zone spots for any drives or passes that make it inside the scoring area. Their frenetic pressure and the collapse on every ball took UCSB out of their normal game plan.

"Their zone isn't as effective until this time of year so playing them early in the year is deceptive," said Ramsey. 

"We played them as late in the year as we could regular season to face it as close to the post-season as possible."

Ramsey was referring to the CSU 8-7 win on April 2nd in Fort Collins. 

"The way they applied it tonight was a whole different level of pressure."

UCSB was led in scoring by Alyssa Nelsen (Denver, CO) with 2 goals. Five other UCSB players scored one goal apiece. The Gauchos face Santa Clara in the WCLA 3rd Place Game at 10:30am on Saturday. It will be the third meeting this year with the higher ranked and higher seeded Santa Clara taking a 15-14 win at home on March 6th and a Western Women's Lacrosse League semifinal game 13-12 on April 16th at UCSB. The Gauchos drop to 15-8 overall with one game remaining this season.

UCSB started the season ranked 6th and they were ranked as low as 8th at one point before finishing 7th in the final poll of the regular season on April 13th. But the Gauchos are playing in the third place game for an association that has more than 230 member teams. UCSB was supposed to lose to Florida in the quarterfinals. Instead they made it to the semifinals.

Ramsey had more to say, "This stings and we certainly have to go back to the drawing board on our scheme next year but right now we are going to take pride in the fact that we are one of the top programs in the country reaching to be the best."

"Maybe we will start using that defense ourselves so that we practice against it every day just for the next time we play them."

"Certainly we will keep reaching for the top even though the downside is being disappointed."


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