The rain had cooled the air, but William and Mary (3-2) Head Coach John Daly was still livid. He stood on the sideline, arms crossed with his back to his team as he allowed himself time to choose his words after the Tribe’s 2-0 defeat at the hand of the University of California-Santa Barbara (2-3-1).
“A very poor first half, but we played much better in the second half,” Daly said. “I thought the poor refereeing was a factor with the way [UCSB] played, just getting pieces of players. She was very poor at playing advantage; an advantage would come out of it, and she would just let it go, and they would win the ball back. It was awful refereeing, but we did not play well in the first half.”
The first goal for the Gauchos came in the 33rd minute on a strike by forward Alissa Sanchez. The Tribe did not drop back completely as the ball was played into the box from the right side, and Sanchez blasted the ball to the center of the net for her second goal of the season.
“One of our midfielders got caught not getting back in time,” junior goalkeeper Grace Barnard said. “The girl served the ball in, and we weren’t marking goal side, so she got a touch for a goal.”
The Gauchos would strike again in the second half during the 52nd minute. After a free kick from a yard or so out of the box, forward Jacqui Simon sent the ball into the lower right corner of the net.
Her vision blocked by a wall set up in the box, Barnard couldn’t reach the strike, and the Gauchos took a 2-0 lead.
Besides the sloppy play, what really drew Daly’s ire was what he perceived to be the distasteful style of the UCSB squad. In addition to the 20 fouls committed — compared to the Tribe’s 17 — Daly felt Gaucho players would purposely kick the ball away when the Tribe was awarded a free kick, negating the advantage of the play.
“They possess the ball well and knock it around well. They’re just chippy and annoying to play against,” Daly said. “That is always a pity when a team is good but resorts to the kind of stuff they did out there. That’s just very difficult to handle.”
The Tribe and the Gauchos both took five shots, the most dangerous coming off the foot of freshman forward Erin Liberatore. Twice in the first half, Liberatore was almost able to reach a couple long balls played from the backline, but they were knocked away by UCSB keeper Tammy Lenham.
Liberatore also had a shot late in the second half after making a nice run down the right side, but her 10-yard effort was stoned by Lenham again. The keeper made three saves in the game.
Except for Liberatore, the Tribe was unable to challenge despite changing their formation to start the second half. Junior midfielder Jacocks started the period in place of sophomore forward Stephanie Gerow and replaced sophomore back Diana Weigel on the back line. Weigel moved up to the midfield position in order to try and spark the attack.
“I moved up because we needed more people to go up top,” Weigel said. “We needed to get our offense going and put more pressure on Santa Barbara. After the half, we really tried to put more pressure on them and we also switched our formation.”
It was to no avail. The Tribe took only two shots in the second half, leaving Daly, arms crossed, standing on the sideline, still fuming away in the light September rain.