Club Women

March 6, 2010
With the remnants of a gorgeous sunset still at the horizon, Santa Clara Coach Brendan O'Brien provides insight into their opponent's game at halftime. © Dirk Dewachter
With the remnants of a gorgeous sunset still at the horizon, Santa Clara Coach Brendan O'Brien provides insight into their opponent's game at halftime. © Dirk Dewachter

WDIA: No. 1 Santa Clara Edges No. 2 UCSB

from press release | box score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif -- Top-ranked Santa Clara defeated No. 2-ranked UC Santa Barbara in a tight US Lacrosse Women's Division Intercollegiate Associates (WDIA) contest Saturday.

Both goalies had 16 saves apiece, but the Broncos outshot the Gauchos, 32-29, to get the win. Santa Clara fueled its efforts by winning the draw control battle 17-8.

The Broncos scored the first goal of the game when senior Krista Shaw (Denver, Colo.) assisted freshman Maggie Burke (Lake Forest, Ill.) at 4:22 into the match. UCSB answered that when senior Sam Lutz (San Diego, Calif.) fed sophomore Maegan Cruse (San Diego, Calif.) at 5:55 to tie it 1-1. The Gauchos went up 3-1 on unassisted goals by Cruse and freshman Katie Mitchell (Lafayette, Calif.) but Bronco freshman Juliana Onieal (New York, N.Y.) found junior Gracie Binder  (Seattle, Wash.) open in front of the UCSB goal and it was 3-2. That's pretty much how it went all game with one team scoring one or two and the other team scoring one or two. The Gauchos did lead by 2 goals twice more in the first half but could not put any distance between themselves and Santa Clara.

The exception for the two teams pretty much trading scoring in 1's or 2's came in the last minute of the first half and the first two minutes of the second half. UCSB scored on a Mitchell assist to junior Ashley Antoon-Algieri (San Ramon, Calif.) with 1:19 left in the first half to put UCSB up 6-4. Santa Clara then won the next draw control before successfully running their offense to score with 15 seconds left. A Binder-to-Burke connection pulled the Broncos to within one at 6-5 before intermission.

Then the Broncos won two draw controls and scored two goals to start the second half, getting up 7-6 on a Kayla Ushman (Menlo Park, Calif.) free position shot only 2:17 into the second half. That was a three goal run by the Broncos and while UCSB came back to tie it at 10-10 with 15 minutes remaining Santa Clara responded to that surge by the Gauchos with 2 more goals to go up 12-10 with 4:55 to go in the game.

Santa Clara's success on draw controls, winning nine more possessions on the circle, made the difference. Still, UCSB had a chance to tie the game in the last minute of play.

"We were on defense for extended periods today, the most so far all year, and it was often right off the draw," said UCSB head coach Paul Ramsey. "Our defense played well in the face of all that possession time by the other team and managed to force a turnover at the end of the game."

The Gauchos forced a Santa Clara turnover and scored with one minute remaining to make it 12-11. Then UCSB freshman Lindsay Remigio (Syosset, N.Y.) flew into the circle to snag the last draw control of the game and give the Gauchos a chance. UCSB was on offense one more time and it looked like a comeback moment was on the horizon. Unfortunately, the Gauchos were unable to capitalize on the possession in the waning moments of the game.

"To be only one goal away from overtime with a chance at tying it knowing that we had an off day on the circle tells us it is a different game if we are even just a little closer on the draws," Ramsey said.

Gaucho sophomore goalie Jeni Centner (Tustin, Calif.) had 16 saves against 28 Bronco shots on goal for a 57.1-percent effort. Santa Clara first team All-American junior goalie Renee Eligio (South San Francisco, Calif.) had 16 saves on 27 UCSB shots on goal.

"That was fantastic goaltending by both keepers, and the game went to the team that took one more shot on goal," Ramsey said.  "If we get a few more of the 50-50 balls, we get a few more  shots on goal."

"That is where Santa Clara won this game, with draw controls and ground balls."

Second-ranked UCSB dropped to 9-1 overall while top-ranked Santa Clara improved to 10-0. The Gauchos next play at home when they host sixth-ranked UCLA  at 9 p.m. Friday in Harder Stadium.  The UCSB 'B' Team plays UCLA 'B' at 7pm.

The Broncos play next when they host unranked Chico State on March 13.

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