SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After toppling Westmont 3-1 on Wednesday night, the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team stuck to the script and turned in another 3-1 victory, this time over North Texas, in the second exhibition match of the season on Saturday night at Harder Stadium.
Squaring off against three-time defending Conference-USA Champion North Texas, the Gauchos looked to jump on the Mean Green early with a handful of looks at the goal.
Shaelan Murison was peppering the net with the first three shots of the game, prompting a diving save from the North Texas keeper to keep the game scoreless in the seventh minute.
It would not stay scoreless for long, however, as the Gauchos broke through in the 16th minute with a goal off the foot of Jessica Clegg. Mallory Hromatko and Chace Schornstein set up Clegg, who fielded the ball at the top left corner of the box and fired a shot that ricocheted up and over the goalie into the back of the net.
The Mean Green picked up steam with an equalizer in the 31st minute, as Aaliyah Nolan turned and powered a line drive shot from 25 yards out to stun the UCSB defense.
With the score knotted at 1-1, North Texas continued to put the pressure on at the start of the second half, and edged the Gauchos in corner kicks 4-1 in the final 45 minutes.
The Gauchos returned to form and nearly converted the go-ahead goal after Hromatko found herself wide open in front of the goal, but a quick closeout by the Mean Green keeper dashed the opportunity.
After sitting out the opening exhibition, Big West Preseason All-Conference selection Amanda Ball made her presence felt on the pitch and ultimately provided the game-winner in the 61st minute. Ryan Kokoska sent the ball forward to a sprinting Ball near the top of the box, and after the ball deflected away from the charging goalie, Ball was there to punch the ball into the goal for the 2-1 lead.
For good measure, Julia Kappes made it 3-1 in the 71st minute after Murison made a timely pass in the box to the freshman midfielder.
In a true exhibition match that featured 45 total substitutions and 49 different players see the field, the Gauchos registered 11 total shots compared to seven from North Texas. Murison tallied a game-high four while Hromatko finished with three, all of which were on target.
After starting the second half in goal, Maddie Julian tallied all five of UCSB's saves and Miranda Schoening logged five for the Mean Green. Both teams finished with six fouls apiece and North Texas held a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks.
UCSB begins regular season action at home on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7:00 p.m. against Idaho.