SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Lauren Matheson scored her second goal of the game off a rebound with just 1:13 left to lift 16th-ranked Santa Clara past UC Santa Barbara 2-1 on Friday night at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. It was the home opener for the Gauchos.
Matheson collected the rebound after Sarah Jackson's hard shot from about 15 yards was blocked by a diving Makenna Henry. UCSB's (1-1-1) defenders couldn't clear the ball and Matheson pounced to give Santa Clara (2-0-0) the game-winner.
Matheson got her team on the scoreboard first at the 10:26 mark of the first half. Julie Johnston booted a cross left to right through the top of the box to Matheson who was near the upper right corner. She collected the ball and blasted a powerful shot into the lower left portion of the goal, beyond Henry's reach.
The Gauchos scored the equalizer early in the second half. Sophomore Erica Shelton drove a corner kick from the right corner to the far post. In the scramble, sophomore Lindsay Gankema got her foot on the ball and put it off of a defender and past the Broncos All-American goalkeeper, Bianca Henninger. It was Gankema's first career goal.
"Instead of being rewarded for their hard work, they get handed a painful loss," said head coach Paul Stumpf. "I hope that they will find some kind of positive in this, because I really liked the way this team played tonight for the most part and I really like the direction we are going in. But right now they may have some trouble seeing it."
Each team had a handful of good opportunities in the second half, but neither could score until Santa Clara scored the final goal. UCSB's best chance came in the 77th minute when senior Alyssa Benjamin took a ball and was open about 10 yards in front of the goal. Benjamin pounded a shot that went high, over the crossbar.
The Broncos' Katy Speidel returned the favor just moments later, in the 79th minute, when she did the same thing, sending a shot over the crossbar from right in front of the Gaucho goal.
For the first time in three matches this season, UCSB was outshot. Santa Clara finished the contest with a 13-9 advantage in shots, including 6-3 in shots on goal. Freshman Kelly McGrath led the Gauchos with three shots.
Santa Barbara returns to Meredith Field at Harder Stadium when it hosts Minnesota on Sunday, Aug. 28 in an early match that will kickoff at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available one hour prior to game time, or online at UCSBgauchos.com.
UCSB men's basketball season tickets are on sale now! There are several great plans, including the Big West +1 plan while allows fans to purchase tickets for all eight Big West games plus one for their choice of either a game against UNLV or San Diego State. For all the information, call 805-893-UCSB, visit the ticket office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or click here.