Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 11:19 am | Fair 69º

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UCSB Soccer: Gauchos Again Use Last-Minute Magic for Victory

Jacqui Simon scores the game-winner with just 1:16 remaining to defeat Pepperdine 3-2.

Jacqui Simon‘s goal with 1:16 remaining gave UCSB’s women’s soccer team a 3-2 win over Pepperdine at Malibu in a wild game that was as much about the hits as it was the misses.

The victory, the second straight in the final minutes, improved UCSB’s record to 3-1 and dropped the Waves to 0-2-1. On Friday, the Gauchos scored in the 90th minute to snap a 0-0 tie and defeat 13th-ranked San Diego, 1-0.

The game-winner originated from the near sideline in UCSB’s attacking third as the ball zipped through the penalty kick area before being settled by Kailyn Kugler. Kugler played it forward to Simon, who quickly buried it into the lower left corner past the arms of a diving Kayla Stolte.

It was the first goal allowed by Pepperdine this season on a running play. The Gauchos’ two previous scores came off set pieces in the seventh and 12th minutes.

UCSB’s opening goal came off a Simon corner kick that landed inside the goalmouth. The ball was first touched by Michelle Russell before Kylie McDonald, a sophomore transfer from Pepperdine, redirected it toward the back of the net.

Minutes later, Simon smacked a free kick that was initially blocked by the Pepperdine defensive wall. But as luck would have it, the Gauchos sophomore collected her rebound and shot a bullet into the upper left corner.

Even though Simon’s goal gave UCSB a 2-0 lead, it could have easily been 4-0. In between scores, Gennelle Ives blasted a shot off the post that sailed across the face of the net and wide, and in the 10th minute, Stolte denied Simon the hat trick by saving her penalty kick.

Simon finished the match with five points and placed all three of her shots on goal.

Pepperdine began to pick up the pace offensively in the latter stages of the first half but didn’t light its end of the scoreboard until the 49th minute when Ashley Copp connected with Amanda Rupp.

Rupp rushed through the defense after receiving the ball from Copp just over the halfway line. And after shaking off the last defender, Rupp beat UCSB goalkeeper Tammy Lenham in a one-on-one situation just inside the 18-yard box.

Rupp’s goal was her first of the season and the 10th of her career.

Copp made it a three-point day for herself after knotting the match at 2-2 with a free kick shot into the upper right corner in the 66th minute.

Even with the momentum back on offense and an electrified crowd supporting them, the Waves could not find the net a third time. Lenham made two saves on Emily Wynne and Rupp’s point-blank attempt with 3:31 left in regulation was blocked by a Gauchos defender.

UCSB began to ratchet up its offense at the same time, but a shot from Kugler was cleared off the line by a Waves defender and Stolte saved an Alyssa Benjamin attempt before surrendering the game-winner.

Stolte left the field with four saves while Lenham was credited with six.

Offensively, Pepperdine outshot UCSB 18-13 and received seven corner kicks to the Gauchos’ three. The teams, however, had eight shots on goal apiece.

UCSB returns to the pitch Sunday when it hosts Sacramento State in a 1 p.m. match at Harder Stadium. The contest against the Hornets will be the first of three-straight home appearances. UCSB will also host Washington State on Sept. 12, and nationally ranked Tennessee on Sept. 14.

Bill Mahoney is UCSB‘s assistant athletics director.

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