Gauchos Score Three Unanswered to Complete Cal Comeback

Senior midfielder Madeline Gibson scored the game winning goal, her first of the season, in the Gauchos 3-2 overtime win over Cal. (Photo courtesy of Evan Kokoska)
Senior midfielder Madeline Gibson scored the game winning goal, her first of the season, in the Gauchos 3-2 overtime win over Cal. (Photo courtesy of Evan Kokoska)

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BERKELEY, Calif. – In their first matchup since 2005, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos women's soccer team (5-1-0) defeated the California Golden Bears (3-2-0) in come-from-behind fashion thanks to a strong second half and a golden goal in overtime from senior midfielder Madeline Gibson.

Cal struck first in the 12th minute as forward Emma Westin's attempted cross from the right wing angled towards goal and snuck in under the crossbar.

Cal doubled their lead eight minutes later as midfielder Luca Deza played in a cross from the right edge of the penalty area which took a deflection on an attempted clearance by the Gauchos in the six yard box, where forward Abi Kim was positioned to head home her third goal of the season.

Freshman goalkeeper Natalie Hill made two saves in the first half to keep the Gauchos in the game, both coming in the 40th minute.

The Palo Alto, Calif. native turned midfielder Mia Corbin's rapid left-footed shot around the post and saved a second effort from Corbin, this time at the top of the box on her right foot, just moments later.

The Gauchos put together a dominant spell of possession to open the second half in what was perhaps a sign of things to come, as they recorded their first shots of the game through senior defensive midfielder Sydney Magnin's first-time look in the left side of the penalty area that went high and senior right back Mallory Hromatko's shot from the right wing that was collected by Cal goalkeeper Olivia Sekany.

The visitors continued to put pressure on the Golden Bears, and they eventually broke through in the 60th minute as Magnin pounced on a loose ball in the Cal penalty area after both teams had been scrambling for possession for several seconds. Hromatko was credited with the assist on the goal after her shot at the top of the box was deflected into Magnin's path.

The Gauchos continued to work their way back into the game, but it wasn't until the 81st minute that freshman forward Jessica Wright made a strong run along the left-hand side freeing herself of her marker and crossing into the middle towards the top of the box for a wide-open junior forward Shaelan Murison to cut onto her left foot and score her fifth goal of the year.

In the final ten minutes of regulation, UCSB had to weather heavy possession as Cal was creating danger in the Gaucho defensive half. The Golden Bears saw a shot from midfielder Caroline Clark go wide and a last-minute free kick from forward Miranda Nild sailed over the crossbar as the match required overtime.

In their season opener and only other game requiring overtime this season, it took the Gauchos nearly the entirety of two overtime periods for senior midfielder Jessica Clegg to score the game-winning goal in the 109th minute. Today, it took less than six minutes for UCSB to claim victory in the extra period.

With the momentum on their side, the Gauchos worked their way into the Cal final third and earned a throw in on the right-hand side. Murison sent a long throw in to the penalty area, where it was cleared to the top of the box for Gibson to take first time, unleashing a powerful shot towards the top left corner of the Golden Bears' net.

UCSB's victory was the first win by a non-conference opponent at Edwards Stadium since September 12, 2014 when then-No. 7 Texas Tech defeated then-No. 11 Cal 1-0.

Junior goalkeeper Hanna DeWeese entered the match after halftime, marking the first appearance of both the season and her UCSB career. Though Cal had seven shots in the second half and overtime, none were on target and she did not have to make a save as she picked up the win.

The Gauchos continue their five-game road trip this week, heading back up north to Fresno State on Thursday, September 6. They play the Bulldogs at 7:00 p.m. in what will be UCSB's only match of the week.