Last Gasp Magic Propels Gauchos to Victory in 2OT Season Opener

Jessica Clegg
Jessica Clegg

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – There were just 114 seconds left on the game clock at Peter Johann Memorial Field before Friday afternoon's matchup between the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team and Sacramento State would go into the books as a draw.

Though the Gauchos (1-0-0) had found the opening goal through sophomore midfielder Christine Maurer's first-time shot from senior right back Mallory Hromatko in the 14th minute, Sacramento State (0-0-1) defender Christina Lazar's equalizer in the 58th minute and their staunch defending frustrated what was a dominant UCSB squad throughout the game.

The Gauchos recorded 17 shots in the game, six of them on target, but were unable to break down the Hornet defense and pick up the go-ahead goal as the game advanced into double overtime.

That is, until senior midfielder Jessica Clegg's second career goal sweetly hit the back of the net in the 109th minute.

Clegg's run from 30 yards out and her ensuing low-driven shot towards the left corner of the goal beat opposing goalkeeper Kaylyn Evans to give the Gauchos their first overtime win since August 26, 2016.

Assistant Coach Goffin Boyoko said Clegg's goal is a "massive boost" for the team and highlighted her workrate, particularly considering the 100-degree heat they were playing in.

Boyoko also praised Maurer, sophomore defender Sophia Dertorossian, who was one of only two Gauchos on the field for all 109 minutes, and transfer junior winger Kat Sheehy.

"The variation of the attack, from inside shots, to overlap, to running in behind, to crosses- we're excited with what we're doing going forward, but with 17 shots, we'd like to see a few more go in," Boyoko added. Junior forward Shaelan Murison led the team with eight shots, two of them on target.

Sheehy, freshman defender Jillian Arriola, and freshman goalkeeper Natalie Hill each made their first career starts at the Division 1 level, though Arriola had to come off less than four minutes into her debut due to injury.

Among head coach Paul Stumpf's freshman recruits making their debuts off the bench, defender Lauren Hess, forward Jessica Wright, and forward Elise Ziem all were part of the action.

Sophomore midfielder Lauren Moss and sophomore defender Lauryn Payne, both transfers, also saw the field in the Gaucho uniform for the first time.

UCSB's next matchup in the UNLV Invitational is on Saturday, August 19 at 10:30 a.m. when they take on University of Illinois-Chicago. Live stats for the game will be available here.