SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Irvine scored a pair of goals in a 42-second span of the 81st minute to sends its match against host UC Santa Barbara and ultimately the teams fought to a 2-2 tie on Sunday afternoon. Despite the tie, the Gauchos (8-4-6 overall, 4-1-3 Big West) will advance to the Big West Conference Tournament on Thursday at Cal State Fullerton.
UC Irvine (4-12-2, 3-3-2) finishes the season in fifth-place and will not take part in the league tournament.
After the teams went scoreless in the first half, things really got going in the second stanza.
UCSB broke open the tie at the 52:18 mark. Dribbling in the middle of the field above the 18-yard box, Angelica Ortega left a ball for Shaelan Murison and the Gauchos' leading goal scorer didn't waste the opportunity as she crushed a shot from 25 yards out, into the upper right corner of the goal. The score was Murison's 17th of the season.
Almost exactly six minutes later, at 58:17, Murison added an assist when she took a corner kick on the left side, drove it into the center of the box where Lauren Hess was waiting. Hess headed it home in the center of the goal, beyond Anteater goalkeeper Maddie Newsom, giving UCSB a 2-0 edge. The goal was Hess' first of the season and the assist was Murison's seventh.
That's when things turned around completely.
At the 80:05 mark, Scarlett Camberos scored her fourth goal of the year when she put back a deflection of shot taken right in front of the goal by Amber Huff, halving the lead.
Just 42 seconds later, Camberos took a botched Gaucho clear inside the box, passed it to Kala McDaniel who shoved it into the right side of the goal.
Each team mounted a handful of attacks over the final nine minutes and the overtime, but neither could score the game-winner.
Cal State Fullerton defeated CSUN 2-1 on Sunday and will take the No. 1 seed in the league tournament. CSUN, UCSB and Hawai'i each finish with 15 points and tied for second-place, but CSUN will get the No. 2 seed based on tiebreakers. The Gauchos get the No. 3 seed and will play the Matadors in the tournament semifinal with kickoff scheduled for 5:00 p.m. at Titan Field. Fullerton and UH will play the second semifinal at 7:00 p.m. or 20 minutes after the completion of the first match.