Ball's OT Game-Winner, Hat Trick, Give UCSB 3-2 Win in Season-Opener at Fresno

Amanda Ball  (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Amanda Ball (Photo by Tony Mastres)

FRESNO, Calif. – Amanda Ball scored three goals, including the game-winner in the 102nd-minute, leading UC Santa Barbara to a 3-2 overtime win at Fresno State on Friday night in the season opener for both teams. 

Ball completed her hat-trick when she headed home a free kick from Maddie Gibson in the second half of overtime to give the Gauchos the game-winner just 1:47 into the second half of overtime. 

"We changed what we were doing when we entered the overtime," said UCSB head coach Paul Stumpf. "It made all the difference. After we went up 2-0, I think we fell off a little bit, but in the overtime that changed."

Ball scored the first goal of the game at the 13:42 mark when she took a pass from Gibson and pounded a shot past Bulldog goalkeeper Alex Best. Ball gave the Gauchos a 2-0 lead less than six minutes later when, once again, she took a feed from Gibson, and scored at the 19:17 mark.

"They worked very well tonight," Stumpf said. "I think Fresno is a very good team, but we were really good in the first half and were able to jump out in front."

UCSB seemed to let-up in the second half as the Bulldogs scored a pair of goals to tie the score.

The first goal came at in the 61st minute when Sydni Lunt collected a pass from Kasidee Wiley and put a shot past Santa Barbara's Jacq Caginia, cutting the gap to 2-1. 

Fresno tied the score in the 86th minute when Sara Jo Ciapponi took advantage of a poor UCSB clear and went in one-on-one against Caginia, poking the ball into the upper left side, setting-up the overtime.

After a scoreless first half of overtime, the Gauchos once again went to the Ball-Gibson combo for the win. 

"That was a good way to win it," Stumpf said. "Amanda (Ball) and Maddie (Gibson) each had very good games and it was fitting that they ended it. Again, this is a good Fresno State team and we are really happy to get out of here with a win." 

Ball was selected to the Preseason All-Big West Team. She scored five goals in just 12 matches in 2015.

The Gauchos will play their home opener on Friday, Aug. 26 when they host St. Mary's College in a 7:00 p.m. match on Meredith Field at Harder Stadium. The game against the Gaels will begin a six-game home stand. UCSB will also host San Francisco on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 1:00 p.m.