SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Looking to close nonconference play on a six-match unbeaten streak, No. 6 Santa Clara women's soccer went on the road and topped UC Santa Barbara 2-0 Sunday afternoon.
Despite the Gauchos (7-4) creating some dangerous chances throughout and controlling stretches of the game, the Broncos (9-1-1) picked up their fifth shutout of the year to get off to their best start since 2001, the year they won the national title, when they began 14-1 and went 10-1 in nonconference action.
"We had a gritty performance today to cap-off a tough weekend against a very good UC Santa Barbara team," Santa Clara head coach Jerry Smith said. "The coaches are really happy with how the team performed after playing a Friday game and then bussing down here for a quick turnaround. We're always excited when we can get a shutout but a little disappointed we didn't put more shots on goal even though we created several dangerous chances. All in all I'm very pleased and proud of Alex Loera who was banged up but played well."
Skylar Smith scored the first goal of the game in the 14th minute off an assist from Maddy Gonzalez. Smith got the ball just outside the six-yard box from Gonzalez and hit a shot into the upper-right corner of the net.
A failed cross was run down by Kelsey Turnbow in the 72nd minute outside the box that led to the second goal of the day. After a few nice moves to get by two UCSB defenders, Turnbow placed a perfect shot low and just inside the near post to extend the Broncos lead.
"I'm happy for Skylar [Smith] who got us on the board early and then when [Kelsey] Turnbow scored the second it took the pressure off and we were able to close out the game," Smith said.
Seconds later, the Gauchos had their best scoring chance of the day when Katherine Sheehy got one-on-one with Melissa Lowder. Sheehy got the ball behind Lowder but Sofia Jones cleared it just before it got over the goal line.
Lowder finished the day with a pair of saves and has all five Santa Clara shutouts on the year.
Hanna DeWeese made three saves for the Gauchos, including a pair of acrobatic stops in the first half that kept UC Santa Barbara in the match.
- Santa Clara is now 11-7-4 all-time against UC Santa Barbara.
- The Broncos held a 14-7 edge in shots on goal and put five on target.
- Lowder has now surpassed her shutout total from 2017.
- Santa Clara's leader in points, Maria Sanchez, did not appear in the match.
Santa Clara begins West Coast Conference play Sunday at San Francisco at 1 p.m.
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