SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Fittingly, senior Erin Ortega scored her first goal of the season on Senior Night, to lift UC Santa Barbara past the University of Hawaii in Big West soccer action on Friday night, 1-0.
The Gauchos (4-9-2 overall, 1-3-1 in Big West) had the run of the play the entire night and finally got on the board when Ortega took a feed from Sara Feder and booted home a shot from 22 yards out, just to the right of center. It was the Simi Valley native's first goal of the season and came in the 49th minute. Ortega is a two-time All-Big West player who will play her final home game on Sunday when UCSB hosts Cal State Northridge.
Santa Barbara dominated the first half, outshooting the Rainbow Wahine (6-7-2 overall, 1-3-0 in Big West) 10-1. Only one of the shots was on frame, but there were several near misses. The first was when Angelisa Cortez hit a cross from the right side that Lauren Kennedy got a head on but the ball sailed just wide to the left.
In the 34th minute, Indiana Mead took a perfect through-ball down the right side of the box and cracked a shot that hit the left post. Cortez tried a put-back, but her shot was wide. In the 39th minute, Mead had another close call, taking a shot from 10 yards out straight away that was saved by Hawaii goalkeeper Kanani Taaca. Just seconds later, Kelly McGrath blasted a shot from 28 yards straight out, but again, the ball went wide to the left.
Hawaii's most dangerous chance came in the 50th minute. Christy Watanabe cracked a hard shot from about 20 yards. Gaucho goalkeeper Makenna Henry caught the ball, but couldn't hold it. She scrambled after it, but it got behind her. Tiana Fujimoto jumped on the rebound and tried to score from right in front of the goal, but the shot was deflected by a UCSB defender and went wide to the right.
In the 77th minute, Krystal Pascua took a powerful shot from just inside the left side of the box. The ball eluded the leaping Henry, but glanced off the upper right portion of the crossbar.
In the end, UCSB outshot Hawaii 17-8, but the Rainbow Wahine had three shots on goal to the Gauchos two.
The win ended a two-match losing streak and a six-match unbeaten string for UCSB.
UCSB returns to action on Sunday, Oct. 14 when it hosts Cal State Northridge in a 1:00 p.m. game at Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The game will be the Gauchos' final home appearance of the 2012 season.
Tickets are available at the Stadium Ticket Booth one hour prior to kick-off or online by clicking here.