Gauchos Host Fresno State Friday Then Hit Road for Three

Makenna Henry (Photo by Matt Brown)
Makenna Henry (Photo by Matt Brown)

This Week
Friday, August 23, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
At UCSB's Harder Stadium 

Monday, August 26, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Weber State Wildcats
At WSU's Wildcat Soccer Field

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. (PDT)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Southern Utah Thunderbirds
At SUU's Eccles Colisseum

First Things First
UC Santa Barbara women's soccer will officially open its 2013 season at home before embarking on a three-game road stretch.  The Gauchos host Fresno State on Friday, Aug. 23 in a match that will kick-off at 7:00 p.m.  They will then play at Weber State (Aug. 26), at Southern Utah (Aug. 28) and at Loyola Marymount (Sept. 1).

If UCSB Hopes To Rebound…
UCSB will be aiming to bounce-back from an injury-plagued 2012 season that saw it finish 5-12-2 overall and 2-6-1 in the Big West Conference.  To improve, the Gauchos will have to generate more offensive firepower.  In 19 matches last season, they netted a mere 19 goals and were shutout eight times, including a stretch of four straight matches.  

Some Offensive Returnees To Look For
Last season's top-two goal scorers for UCSB – Sara Feder and Angelisa Cortez - were freshmen.  Feder finished with four goals and Cortez had three.  Cortez is once again expected to play a major role from the start, but Feder, who battled an off-season hip injury, will start the season on the inactive list but could contribute later in the season.  Junior defender Miranda Cornejo and junior forward/midfielder Madison Beckley, who scored a pair of goals apiece in 2012, will also return.  Beckley, in fact, scored Santa Barbara's goal in its preseason game against Westmont College.

Centers Of Attention
Juniors Indiana Mead and Kelly McGrath pace the way in UCSB's midfield.  Mead, who had two goals and two assists as a sophomore, will be leaned on as a playmaker.  She was one of just three field players to start all 19 contests in 2012 and, if she remains healthy, she should do so again.  McGrath, a defensive key for the team, had one assist in her 17 contests, all starts. 

Defensive Stance
The Gauchos return a pair of full-time starters among its defenders.  Cornejo, who scored two goals, made 16 starts, while senior Lindsay Gankema started all 19 games for a defensive unit that allowed 29 goals in 19 matches, had three shutouts and allowed more than two goals just three times.  Senior Paige Gankema, Lindsay's twin sister, played in 18 matches in 2012 and started 16.  She will likely be called on again in 2013.

The Last Line Of Defense
Senior goalkeeper Makenna Henry played all but 25:53 in 2012 and will almost undoubtedly log the lion's share of playing time again in 2013.  As a junior, Henry allowed 29 goals and had 93 saves.  She posted a 1.50 goals against average and had three shutouts.

Some New Faces
Head coach Paul Stumpf will also depend on a handful of freshmen in 2013.  The most prominent among the first-year Gauchos should be target striker Morgan Idso (Danville, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS), wide striker Makenna Kummer (Alamo, Calif./San Ramon Valley HS), attacking midfielder McKinsey Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga HS) and center back Kailey Hackett (Coto de Caza, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic HS).

Stumpf Enters 15th Campaign
Paul Stumpf is in his 15th season as the head coach of the UCSB women's program.  He is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories with 128.  Overall, Stumpf's career record is 128-118-33.  He has guided the program to a pair of NCAA Tournaments (2008 and 2009) and two Big West regular season crowns (2004 and 2006).  Six of Stumpf's players have been named Big West Offensive Player of the Year.