Hromatko, Stumpf collect Big West Conference’s top honors

Mallory Hromatko - UCSB Soccer

UCSB freshman Mallory Hromatko was named the Big West Conference Freshman of the Year and made the all-conference First Team at the same time. (John Dvorak/Presidio Sports File Photo)


Forward Mallory Hromatko was named Big West Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big West, Paul Stumpf was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time, and five other UC Santa Barbara players were named to the All-Big West Women’s Soccer Teams, the league announced Tuesday.

Stumpf, who was also earned the coach of the year honor in his first season at UCSB in 1999, guided the 2015 Gauchos to a 13-5-1 regular season record and a 6-2 record in Big West play. Before the season they were picked to finish sixth in league and, instead, shared the league’s regular season title while starting six freshmen and two sophomores for much of the year. Stumpf gave a great deal of credit to his staff of Associate Head Coach Austin Risenhoover, Goalkeeper Coach Sam Hayden, Volunteer Coach Billy Gallagher and Sports Performance Coach Paul Hart.

“This was no doubt a collaborative effort,” Stumpf said. “Austin was a big part of our change of philosophy in recruiting, tactics and culture of the program. Billy Gallagher has been responsible for a lot of what we do defensively, Sam has done a great job with our goalkeepers and Paul Hart really helped change our players physically. This award really is me benefitting from an outstanding group effort.”

The 17th-year head coach also gave a great deal of credit to his team.

“I have to thank the team for buying into what we’re trying to do in our program,” he said. “They have done a great job of incorporating the things we teach at practice and adjustments we make during games. As a group they have been very open to our input.”

For her part, Hromatko has had one of the finest freshman seasons in program history. She enters the Big West Tournament with nine goals, six assists and 24 points, all of which rank third in the league. Hromatko is the highest scoring Gaucho freshman since Jennifer Borcich had 11 goals and seven assists in 2001.

“Just looking at the numbers, Mallory was a slam dunk for Freshman of the Year,” Stumpf said. “And for her to gain so much respect from the coaches in the league to be named first team says a great deal about her soccer playing ability. Mallory is a really good student, good person and she will be a leader in our program for the next few years.”

Junior defender Sydney Fuertes, sophomore midfielder Chace Schornstein and sophomore forward Amanda Ball were all named Second Team All-Big West.

Fuertes is one of the anchors of a UCSB defense that has allowed two or fewer goals in 18 of the 19 matches. Schornstein, a member of last year’s Big West All-Freshman Team, has scored three goals from her holding center midfield position, and Ball tallied four goals and three assists in eight Big West games after returning from an eight game absence due to a foot injury.

“That is the spine of our team,” Stumpf said. “Our center back, holding center midfielder and a forward. Sydney and Chace have had very good years, start-to-finish. They are both very deserving. Amanda had a tough start to the year, but she is a great athlete and a standout player. She came back for the start of conference and has made a big difference for us.”

Hromatko is joined on the All-Freshman Team by forward Jessica Parque and midfielder Sydney Magnin. Parque enters the Big West Tournament with five goals and two assists while Magnin has three goals.

“Jessica has been our biggest surprise,” Stumpf said. “She is constantly in motion, constantly finding gaps and getting shots off. Sydney Magnin was the holding center mid for one of the top club programs in the country and she hasn’t missed a beat carrying that into her college career.”

The Gauchos open the Big West Tournament as the No. 2 seeded team and will play the host school and No. 3 seeded Cal State Fullerton in the first round at 7:30 on Thursday night. The Titans won four major awards on Tuesday as their players were named Goalkeeper of the Year (Jennifer Stuart), Offensive Player of the Year (Rebecca Wilson), Midfielder of the Year (Christina Burkenroad) and Defensive Player of the Year (Morgan Batcheller).

Thursday’s UCSB-CSUF showdown will be preceded by a match between top-seeded Long Beach State and No. 4 UC Riverside which will kickoff at 5:00 p.m. Both games can be viewed on ESPN3. The winners will play in the title game on Sunday, Nov. 8. Kickoff at Titan Stadium is slated for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on Prime Ticket.