A late handball whistled on UC Santa Barbara resulted in a penalty kick goal for Omaha and that was enough to provide the difference in the game. The Gauchos again had some great opportunities to score but could not find the touch to find the back of the net.
“I’m not sure we could have played much better,” Stumpf said. “We had 70-percent possession, out shot them 20 to 6. We just need to find something in the attacking third of the field. Our possession and build were good along with our defending. We are just a little frustrated by the result.”
After a slow opening start to the game, UC Santa Barbara would go on to dominate most of the first half. The Mavericks controlled the ball for most of the first 10 minutes of play with the first scoring chance from either side coming in the eighth minute.
An unmarked Omaha attacker sent a shot wide of the net. The Gauchos quickly strapped down their defense and kicked it into gear.
In the 30th minute, Santa Barbara had their first good chance at scoring. Freshman Olivia Howard flicked the ball around a defender, raced into the 18-yard box and found room but her shot would sail wide.
Moments later the aggressive offense from the Gauchos would be awarded with a free kick. A good cross into the box could not be met with a meaningful shot and UC Santa Barbara was again turned away.
The half would wind down and ultimately come to a close with the Gauchos dominating in shots, 9-2, and shots on goal 3-0. Coming out of halftime the Mavericks turned it up a notch.
Omaha would get their first shot on goal in the 48th minute of play. A spectacular sprawling save by Sabrina Hinz would keep the game deadlocked at zero. A back-and-forth game for the middle part of the second half did not see either side gain much momentum.
In the 76th minute, the Gauchos had another great chance as Erin Ellsworth found herself on the doorstep after a great cross found her. She would send it high and that is all the Mavericks needed to flip the script.
Eight minutes later the Gauchos were whistled for a handball in the box as they were defending the net from multiple shots by Omaha.
Sophia Green, the Maverick forward stepped up and shot low and hard to the bottom left side of the net. Hinz guessed right on the direction but the shot was just hard enough to squeeze by her outstretched hand. The goal proved to be the difference in the match.
UC Santa Barbara dominated the stat sheet outshooting Omaha 20-6 with shots on goal 7-2 in the Gauchos’ favor. They also were awarded more corner kicks.
UC Santa Barbara is back in action on Sunday, Sept. 3 as they travel to Ames, Iowa to take on Iowa State. For those unable to make the trip, or attend in person, the match will be streamed through ESPN+ with live stats available through cyclones.com.