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Gauchos Upset 5th Ranked UCLA 17-11

Box Score

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UCSB vs. UCLASanta Barbara, CA - UCSB led 10-6 at halftime against visiting UCLA and then won the second half 7-5 for a final 17-11 margin to upset the 5th ranked Bruins in a big way. The 6th ranked Gauchos struck first just 18 seconds into the game when junior Katie Mitchell (Lafayette, CA) assisted senior Maegan Cruse (San Diego, CA) in early offense after the first draw. It was off to the races for UCSB and they had a 4 goal halftime lead against a very good UCLA team.

Four Gauchos scored 3 goals apiece and another four UCSB players combined for 5 additional goals to spread out the contributions to the offense. Nine of the 16 goals from the field were assisted and one of the 17 goals came on free position shot.

The game with UCLA was the sixth nationally ranked opponent in a row for the Gauchos. The grueling run of games was marred only by a loss to the now top ranked club from University of Michigan. That loss came on Friday evening of the Santa Barbara Shootout back on February 17th. The ridiculously tough stretch of games for UCSB were with four Top Ten opponents and the other two were Top Twenty teams. 

"What we've had to do the last three weeks inspired this team when it could have broken them," said UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey after the game. 

"Some of that schedule is just what we get because we're in WWLL Central but we also make sure our non-conference games test us."

WWLL Central has 4 teams ranked in the Top Twenty of the U.S. Lacrosse WCLA National Poll. The division of the top to bottom most competitive league in the WCLA features UCSB, currently at #6 but likely to move up in the next poll, 5th ranked UCLA, 7th ranked Chapman and Cal Poly SLO, currently ranked 14th but ranked 10th at the time UCSB faced them on the road and came away with a 14-11 win. Unranked but previously receiving votes USC rounds out the five teams in the region. The Gauchos are tested indeed and passing the tests.

UCSB is playing good smart lacrosse and is still learning as they go, a good sign. In a game last week the Gauchos also had a chance to lead by at least 3 goals at halftime against then 10th ranked UC Davis. That game was an eventual double overtime win for the Gauchos but a UCSB turnover with minutes remaining and two quick goals by the Aggies gave them life going into the second half. This time, against UCLA, the Gauchos again had a 3 goal lead as time was dwindling but were efficient on offense scoring with 1 second remaining on the clock to take their 4 goal lead.

"That kind of heads up play and improvement is what makes good teams great and puts games away against good teams," expanded Ramsey.

Against UCLA the Gauchos scored the first two goals coming out of the break and had a 12-6 lead 7:34 into the second half. When Mitchell was fouled by UCLA on her way to goal and finished her free position attempt UCSB was up 13-6 with 22 minutes remaining in the game. UCLA mounted a comeback with 4 straight goals to pulled to make it 13-10 with about 16 minutes remaining in the game. The USCB answer was scoring 3 unanswered goals over a 5 minute span and the Gauchos were on top 16-10. An unassisted goal by senior Morgan Oberstein (San Diego, CA) was her 5th of the game and it brought UCLA back to within 4 goals at 16-11 in favor of UCSB with 4:53 showing on the clock. It was the closest the Bruins could get. The Gauchos scored their last goal with 1:43 left in the game when junior defender Emilia Norlin (Mill Valley, CA) went coast to coast on a clear by senior goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, CA) and then buried an unassisted goal. After that UCSB stalled out for most of the remainder of the game.

At the end of the game UCLA did get two shots off in one 30 second possession after breaking the UCSB stall. Senior goalie Devon Comito (Glen Head, NY) came out of the crease and the Bruins double teamed immediately when UCSB won the draw and moved onto offense after going up 17-11. Centner, 14 saves over 60 minutes of play, turned away two point blank UCLA shots to get the win and then time expired on the Bruins.

"In hindsight with the 5 goal lead and them leaving the net empty we should have gotten them out of that strategy by shooting on the empty net goal," says Ramsey.

"It was the only option available with the double on ball and everyone shut off pretty well by them but we haven't coached that situation, only the one or two goal lead and hold the ball to win."

More coaching to come perhaps but the Gauchos did not need an empty net goal to win by 5 even though UCLA forced the turnover with 30 seconds remaining. UCSB improved to 8-1 overall and 2-0 in WWLL Central while UCLA dropped to 8-2 overall and 2-1 WWLL Central. The Gauchos take some time off from games for dead week and final exams before resuming play with University of San Diego in a home game on Friday, March 30th. UCLA plays next on the road at 4th ranked Colorado State University on April 7th and at 10th ranked University of Colorado on April 8th.


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