UC Irvine on the Road to Start Conference Play

Keeper Jillian Yocum gets her first taste of Big West play this weekend.
Keeper Jillian Yocum gets her first taste of Big West play this weekend.

Home matches in BOLD

Sat. Mar. 31 - 12:00 PM - #6 UCI at CSUN
Sun. Apr. 1 - 12:00 PM - #6 UCI at UCSB

The season gets going as Big West play begins with trips to Northridge and Santa Barbara

TIME FOR THE BIG SHOW: UCI begins its yearly journey into the Big West to see if it can return to the NCAA Tournament.

So far in its three seasons in the Big West, the Anteaters have a 12-3 record in regular season play along with an 8-0 record in the Big West Tournament. The 'Eaters are currently on a 13-match win streak in Big West matches that includes the last eight regular season matches.

UCI needs to be careful, however, as the last time it took a weekend trip to Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara, it lost both matches. This also happened to be the last Big West matches the team dropped.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE MATADORS: Cal State Northridge currently sits at a tie in the rankings at No. 17 with an 11-14 record. The Matadors have been up and down starting off the year with losses to UCSB, Indiana, and a two-overtime loss to Hartwick. CSUN would later come back and defeated Hartwick, but continued to struggle. Despite a run of six losses in seven matches, CSUN was able to use its one win in an upset of Hawai'I which helped the Matadors gain ground in the rankings.

Since then, Hawai'I has faltered immensely, not helping the Matadors' cause, and in addition, CSUN has lost to Princeton and unranked Wagner.

Jenny Jamison and Marisa Young pace the Matadors in scoring along with the fine netminding of Dana Harvey.

UCI has already defeated Cal State Northridge twice, 9-4 and 10-5, in 2012. UCI is 16-4 all-time against CSUN, but is just 1-1 at CSUN and its unique pool set-up

UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS: UC Santa Barbara's years has been just as hectic currently being ranked 14th.

It started with countless close losses to SJSU, Cal, and Arizona State. After a short run of wins over unranked opponents, UCSB bounced around with wins over CSUN and UCSD and losses to Indiana and Arizona State.

UCSB shot up the rankings to 10th with a near-miss against Cal followed by wins over UC Davis and SJSU.

A crushing loss to Div.-III Occidental dropped the Gauchos once again before recently racking up wins against east-coast programs.

Ruth Milne has been other-worldly in net for the Gauchos playing all but two quarters this season, and could be the X-factor in the match against the Anteaters.

Scoring has been provided fairly balanced with Bryce Winton, Kacey Creek, Lauren Martin, Shelby Haroldson, and Rachel Nelson.

Cathy Neushul has taken over the coaching duties this season with former head coach, Wolf Wigo, taking a more administrative role.

UCI is 17-11 all-time against UCSB. The Anteaters won all three matchups last season while UCSB took all three in 2010. So far this season, UCI won the lone match, 11-5.


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