February 1, 2008

Fresh Start for Lady Gauchos

Feb. 1, 2008

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara will open the season against Fresno Pacific in its first game of the Roadrunner Mini Tournament. The game will be held at Cal State Bakersfield, this Saturday at 10:00 p.m.

As a first year head coach, Jenn Durley is excited to begin the 2008 season. With two seniors, Lindsay Knott and Jenny Gonzales, 6 returning players, and 15 freshmen, UC Santa Barbara is a team with great potential.

Coach Durley praises the team's hard work thus far and is excited to see the team grow and improve throughout the season. With her newly implemented program, Durley expects great things this season from not only her returning players, but also her freshmen. She is proud of the practice environment she and her staff have created and believes it will allow all players, freshmen or returning, to reach their full potential.

" We've created an environment where everybody is supportive of each other and everybody works really hard. The players understand that if they put forth the maximum effort they are going to get the chance to play, " said Durley.

With their season opener just around the corner, the lady Gauchos have been doing just that. Training since January, with a small break in December, the Gauchos are ready to take on the new season.

"I think the group we have right now has been training hard and is ready to get started this weekend," said Durley.

The Gauchos will turn to team captains, Amanda Tipton and Gonzales, for leadership, along with senior attacker Knott.

With a total of 226 saves during the 2007 season, Gonzales will be a huge defensive threat for the Gauchos.

As one of the fastest players on the team, Knott will often dictate the pace of the game.

Tipton, as well as junior Gillian Morgan both had strong performances during the 2007 season and their experience will be an advantage for the team. Morgan led the Gauchos in goals with a season total of 49. Tipton finished the season with 32 goals, 26 assists, and 20 steals.

Durley hopes to approach the season one game at a time, and sees this weekend's Roadrunner Mini Tournament, where the Gauchos will face NAIA school Fresno Pacific and host Cal State Bakersfield, as an opportunity for players to get rid of any butterflies they may have.

She looks forward to playing Hartwick this season during the UC San Diego Triton Invitational (2/9/08). As Hartwick took a trip to the NCAA tournament last season, the match-up will be a true measuring stick of the Gaucho's progress.

Coach Durley is confident in her team and ready to see what the season has in store.

"This is an extremely great group of women that take a lot of pride in how they work and how they handle themselves. They have done all the things that we have asked of them in the classroom and in the community," said Durley. "We have faith in them as people and as student-athletes and they are going to be successful this year."

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