WSoc: Fullerton’s Burkenroad breaks Gauchos

FULLERTON, Calif. – Senior Christina Burkenroad scored three goals, including the game-winner in the 65th minute, to lead third-seeded Cal State Fullerton to a 4-2 win over UC Santa Barbara in the first round of the 2015 Big West Women’s Soccer Tournament on Thursday night.

Burkenroad tied the score with her second goal of the night on a breakaway early in the second half, and then gave her team the decider 20 minutes later when she took a pass from Rebecca Wilson and shoved a shot past UCSB goalkeeper Beth Ritter.

The Gauchos, trailing 1-0 after Burkenroad’s first goal in the first half, scored back-to-back goals late in the first half to take a 2-1 lead at halftime. Sophomoe Amanda Ball tallied her fifth goal of the year to tie the score in the 19th minute as she broke free for an unassisted goal, into the lower left portion of the net.

UCSB took a 2-1 edge when freshman Sydney Magnin took a pass from freshman Maddie Gibson and pushed a shot into the right side of the goal. The score was Magnin’s fourth of the season.

The veteran Titans responded with three straight goals. Burkenroad scored her second and third goals of the match, both on assists from Big West Offensive Player of the Year senior Rebecca Wilson, in the 48th and 64th minutes of the match. Fullerton’s senior Connie Caliz scored the final goal off of an assist from Burkenroad in the 76th minute to complete the scoring.

The Gauchos (13-6-1) were picked to finish sixth in the league standings in a poll of the conference coach’s and they surpassed all expectations as they finished tied for the Big West regular season title. UCSB played the entire season with nine freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup.

Santa Barbara actually had a solid offensive performance on Thursday as it outshot Fullerton, in shots on goal, 12-10. Titan goalkeeper Jennifer Stuart had 10 saves for the match. UCSB senior Beth Ritter had six saves on 10 shots.