SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Returning home after 12 straight games on the road, No. 12 UCSB (13-6) took care of business against Cal State Bakersfield (8-8) on Sunday, defeating the Roadrunners 11-8 under the first sunny sky that Campus Pool has seen this season. Senior Taylor Shore recorded a hat trick for the third consecutive game, improving her team-leading total to 35 goals through 19 games.
Santa Barbara has now won four games in a row, with Shore pouring in 11 goals during the streak.
"[Taylor's] a reliable, dependable player who will always show up and get the job done," head coach Serela Kay said. "It starts with her mental toughness and attitude. She focuses on the things that she can control. She's always there making plays, whether it's defensively, in transition, or attacking."
After being unable to create any separation on the scoreboard for most of the first half, the Gauchos took charge late in the second quarter, scoring three goals in the span of 64 seconds to take a 6-3 lead. Shore began the run with 1:42 to go in the opening half. After making an athletic catch off a cross-pool pass from sophomore Sarah Kreiser, the captain quickly fired in a difficult shot with her momentum taking her away from goal, making it 4-3.
Shore then doubled the Gauchos' lead just 39 seconds later, as she put in a gorgeous lob shot towards the far post off a pass from sophomore Kate Pipkin. UCSB would add a third goal in rapid succession moments later, as senior Jenna Solberg scored to make it 6-3 heading into the break.
The Gauchos' carried their momentum with them into the second half, adding three more goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter. After sealing off her defender with great inside position, freshman Sarah Snyder took a well-timed pass from Pipkin before slotting it into the right corner, making it 7-3 at the 6:27 mark.
Pipkin would contribute on two more Gaucho goals over the next 68 seconds with a pair of perfectly weighted long passes to sophomore Brenna Thomas. Thomas scored her only goal of the day with 5:53 to go in the third.
Just 34 seconds later, after a Pipkin steal, Thomas found Shore wide open inside five meters to give UCSB a 9-3 lead. This concluded a 6-0 Gaucho run that took place in under four minutes of play and gave Shore her eighth hat trick in 2017.
Playing with a comfortable lead the rest of the way, the Gauchos would take their foot off the gas pedal heading into the fourth, allowing Bakersfield to go on a 5-1 run. Roadrunner senior Kristen Jensen, who had been scoreless prior to the final three minutes of the game, scored three goals in 73 seconds to cut the lead to 10-8.
However, UCSB would be the last to strike, as Kreiser took a pass from Thomas in the final seconds before capitalizing on an empty net to give the Gauchos the 11-8 victory.
"We were focusing on defense and that fueled that six-goal run, although I think we messed around a little too much and forgot to attack. That's just part of learning game situations," Kay said. "I think we're definitely on the right track, but it's important the team keeps maturing with recognizing game situations and knowing how to react."
Pipkin finished with a team-high two assists while scoring two of UCSB's first three goals in the opening half. Thomas, Kreiser and freshman Natalie Selin all added one goal apiece.
On the defensive end, Shore and Pipkin led the way with five and three steals, respectively. Freshman goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder added seven saves and two steals in the cage.
UCSB will head back on the road this week for a Thursday evening matchup with Sonoma State (5 pm) before playing UC Davis in its Big West season-opener on Saturday (11 am). The Gauchos will play in two more home games this season, including conference matches against UC Irvine on Apr. 8 and Long Beach State on Apr. 15.