UCSB, Grand Canyon Battle to 1-1 Tie in the Valley of the Sun

Amanda Ball (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Amanda Ball (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Amanda Ball scored her fifth goal of the season as UC Santa Barbara weathered triple-digit temperatures and battled Grand Canyon University to a 1-1 deadlock Thursday afternoon.

When the match between UCSB (3-2-1) and GCU (3-3-1) began, the thermometer read 103.

The first goal came at the 20:14 mark when Christine Maurer, who was just over midfield near the left side of the center circle, found Ball to her left. Ball took Maurer's pass and dribbled into the left side of the box, pushing a shot past Antelopes' goalkeeper Blakely Fraasch who dove to her left but saw the ball go into the lower right hand portion of the goal.

GCU tied the score in the 71st minute as Anyssa De Vera, who had just entered the match, picked up the ball just inside the left sideline about 40 yards out. De Vera made a couple of moves, dribbled through the Gaucho defense and then hooked a shot into the right side of the goal from about 25 yards out, above the left side of the 18-yard box.

Each team had other outstanding chances to score in the second half. In the 62nd minute, Antelope forward McKenzie Cook got behind the Gaucho defense and placed a shot just outside the right post. In the 64th minute, Milla Benedetti had a great chance from just inside the middle of the 18-yard box but she was stymied by UCSB goalkeeper Brittney Rogers.

UCSB had the final scoring chance as regulation time wound down inside the final minute as Lynsee Voss collected a loose ball just inside the upper middle part of the box and blasted a shot that went just over the crossbar.

GCU's Amanda Lopez had the first opportunity in the overtime but her high, arcing shot just two minutes in to the OT was just over the crossbar. Just three minutes later, it was the Gauchos' turn as Ball's shot from about 15 yards out on the right side was saved by a diving Fraasch.

In the second half of overtime, each team had additional opportunities. The last chance came on GCU's only corner kick of the match when the ball was centered just in front of the goal

One of the key plays of the match came in the 19th minute when UCSB was awarded a penalty kick, but Fraasch made a beautiful save, diving to her left to rob Mallory Hromatko and keep the match scoreless at the time.

Statistically, Santa Barbara dominated the match, outshooting the Antelopes 28-15 overall and 9-4 in shots on goal. The visitors also had a 12-1 advantage in corner kicks. Hromatko paced UCSB with seven shots overall, two of which were on frame, while Ball had five, including three on goal. Rogers had a trio of saves while the Antelopes' Fraasch chalked up eight. 

The Gauchos will play six of their next seven games at home. They will host Fresno State in a 2:30 p.m. match on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Harder Stadium. Tickets are available online by clicking here. For those fans who cannot get to the match, the video stream, which will include play-by-play from Gerry Fall, can be accessed at BigWest.tv.