Gaucho Attack Comes Alive in 7-0 Rout

Shaelan Murison
Shaelan Murison

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – On Friday, the UC Santa Barbara women's soccer team defeated Sacramento State by scoring two goals on 17 shots.

Assistant Head Coach Goffin Boyoko praised the attack after the match, but noted "with 17 shots, you'd like to see a few more go in."

Surely, Boyoko, Head Coach Paul Stumpf, and Assistant Coach Mario Felix must be pleased with what the Gauchos were able to do against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames on Sunday morning at the UNLV Invitational.

UCSB recorded 15 shots on goal on 27 shots, but this time the offense exploded for seven goals- the most they've scored in a game since their 8-2 victory over UNC Charlotte in 2004.

Senior midfielder Jessica Clegg picked up where she left off by slotting home the opening goal in the 20th minute from junior forward Shaelan Murison and senior midfielder Sydney Magnin, making it her second goal of the season after scoring the golden goal on Friday afternoon.

Stumpf said "The first goal was really important. We had a few chances, really close chances, in the opening minutes, and you want to get that goal so you can get rewarded for all of your effort and all of those great looks."

Less than a minute later, senior right back Mallory Hromatko set up freshman forward Jessica Wright outside of the box for her first career goal to put the Gauchos up by two.

In the 38th minute, Wright continued her stellar debut weekend with another goal, this time a solo effort to earn herself a brace and put the Gauchos up by three heading into the break.

"Her first goal was fantastic and she's getting more comfortable in the environment. For goalscorers, once they get that first one they can relax a little bit," Stumpf said.

Murison kept up the fast-paced attack out of the gate in the second half, getting a double of her own with goals five minutes apart in the 51st and 56th minutes.

Looking to continue the attacking flurry, Murison collected her second assist of the day on senior forward Jessica Parque's goal to extend the advantage to six just one minute later.

In the final minute of the match, freshman forward Sarah Arnaudon scored the seventh and final goal off an assist from sophomore midfielder Julia Kappes.

As effective as the forwards were in finishing goals, the midfielders and wide players had a large role in UCSB's success. Hromatko assisted two goals today, bringing her total up to three on the season to match her team-high tally in 2017.

On Hromatko's performance in her first two games at right back, Stumpf said "She is one heck of an athlete and an exceptional soccer player. She got forward a lot and she's going to be able to give us a lot of service from the right flank."

In addition to Magnin, Murison, Hromatko, and Kappes, sophomore forward Christine Maurer also picked up an assist on Murison's second goal in the 56th minute.

Freshman goalkeepers Natalie Hill and Mackenzie Hatanaka combined for the clean sheet and three saves, with the defense allowing only 4 shots.

Their seven-goal margin of victory is the largest since their 8-0 win over Idaho on October 31, 2003.

"We're cautiously optimistic. It's very early, we have a lot of work to do, but obviously we're very excited to be on the bus home heading back with a 2-0 record."

The Gauchos' 44 shots on their two games to open the season are the most in a two-game stretch since 2011, when they also reached that amount with 29 in the season opener at Idaho and 15 in the following game at UNLV.

The Gauchos return to Harder Stadium to kick off a doubleheader on Friday night when they face Boise State at 5:30 p.m., with the men's soccer match versus St. John's taking place afterwards.