SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Fittingly, seniors Alyssa Benjamin and Katy Roby each scored a second half goal in their final game to lift UC Santa Barbara past visiting Cal Poly in the season finale for both teams, 2-1.
Benjamin struck first for the Gauchos (7-11-2 overall, 2-6 in the Big West), scoring on a header from the center of the box just in front of the goal line. The goal, which came at the 52:02 mark, came off of a perfect corner kick from Roby. It was Benjamin's second goal of the season and, in fact, her second in the last three games. She completes her career with a total of three goals.
The Mustangs (9-9-1 overall, 3-5 in the Big West) played physical all night, finishing with four yellow cards. At one point, they had a 16-2 edge in fouls and the final tally was 22-9. They paid the price for their physical play in the 56th minute when they were whistled for a foul in the box on UCSB's Erin Ortega. Roby was tabbed to take the ensuing penalty kick and she put it into the lower left corner of the goal.
Just over five minutes later, Cal Poly slashed the Gaucho lead in half. Sara Lancaster scored on a scramble in front of the net after a long free kick from the middle of the field by McKenzie Orand. Lancaster one-timed a roller past a scrambling Makenna Henry.
Henry finished the match with five saves, but only played the second half. Senior Kat Serdio saw her first action of the year and was outstanding in her one half of play. Serdio recorded three saves, two of which were spectacular. The most spectacular came in the final minute of the half when the Mustangs Tiffany Gummow got past the Gauchos' defense and blasted a shot that was headed towards the left post. A fully-outstretched Serdio dove to her right and punched the ball with her right hand, just outside the post.
"I'm very happy that our seniors went out on a high note," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "It was also great that Katy (Roby) and Benji (Benjamin) were the ones who scored the goals. Overall, I thought all of our seniors made major contributions."
Ten players played in their final games for the Gauchos and all of them were in the starting lineup, including midfielder Cory Yoshida who suffered a season-ending knee injury several games ago. Wearing a brace on her injured knee, she started the match, immediately booted the ball out of bounds and was substituted for.
In addition to Benjamin, Roby, Serdio and Yoshida, others playing their final game for the Gauchos were Alexa Stringer, Kathleen Matthew, Danika Johnson, Brooke Salyer, Nicole Romanowski and Alyssa Oldham.