A lot can be said about expectations and how they don’t mean anything. The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos considered to be the favorites to win the Big West Conference this year. But after Friday night’s 3-0 blowout win by the Anteaters, the Gauchos don’t have much expected of them. The UC Irvine women’s soccer team laid the wood to the Gauchos all game long on Oct. 2, at Anteater Stadium.
The two teams played to a packed house, which featured fans from both schools and of all ages. In total, there were 667 fans in attendance. The game started with some serious aggression from both teams. UCI and UCSB traded scoring opportunities early in the game. UCI had a few corner kicks that were just missed being headed into the UCSB net. The Anteaters kept at it though, and on the third corner kick try, freshman Sarah Devine headed in a ball off the corner kick by fellow freshman Dana Sanderlin in the 37th minute to give the Anteaters a 1-0 lead and the only score of the first half.
Despite the score, the Gauchos played extremely tough in the first half, almost matching the Anteaters step for step. The same could not be said for the second half. The UC Irvine players came out on fire to start the second period. Sanderlin passed the ball to junior Milana Shabestari who shot a ball from about 30 yards out, connecting it with the upper left corner of the net, which gave UCI a 2-0 lead. About a minute later, Sanderlin, found freshman Devon Delarosa on the left side of the box. Delarosa sent it across the cage and into the right side of the net for a 3-0 lead in the 49th minute.
This scoring barrage proved to be the last points of the game. However, UCSB did not go down without a fight. They kept trying to put pressure on the Irvine side of the field. The Gauchos had a penalty shot right in front of the UCI goal, but kicked the ball directly into the hands of junior goal keeper Danielle de Seriere. She recorded her sixth shutout of the season, while making two saves. The Gauchos were outplayed physically and that showed the whole game.
Sanderlin’s three assists tied a UCI record set by Gina Hintz against Utah State in 2001. Sarah Devine recorded her second goal of the season, while Milana Shabestari scored her first of the year. Devon Delarosa’s goal was her third of the year and meant a lot to her in a way that went beyond personal success.
“The goal felt good , especially from a defensive perspective because it’s a lot better to be up 3-0 than 2-0. We played fantastically especially for the first conference game of the year,” Delarosa said.
Milana Shabestari was also extremely happy about the outcome of the game.
“We played really well,” Shabestari said. “The win was great because last time we played them we lost 4-0, so it was kind of a revenge game.”
The good times did not continue to roll as the Anteaters lost a heartbreaking double overtime game to Cal Poly on Sunday by a score of 3-2. The loss dropped UCI to 8-4-1 on the year.
UCI scored the first goal of the game at the 54th minute in the second half. The Mustangs of Cal Poly then scored two unanswered goals in a five minute span to take the lead. Sophmore Lexi Kopf was able to tie the score up by placing the ball right past the Mustang goal keeper at the 79th minute.
The first overtime was full of scoring chances by both teams. Anteater Tanya Taylor was robbed by a great diving catch by the Mustang goalkeeper halfway through the first overtime. Julianne Grinstead scored a goal in traffic in 104th minute to give the game to Cal Poly.
“Not anything catasthropic went wrong for us,” Head Coach Scott Juniper said. “The game went back and forth and we made some silly mistakes. We have to improve some of the decisions we make out there. We are going to very quickly think abot next week.”
The Anteaters will go on a three game roadtrip next. They will go to UC Davis on Oct. 9 and then to Pacific on the 11th. They will come back to play on Irvine on 18th against UC Riverside.