Ball, Marani Earn Women's Soccer Weekly Honors
Amanda Ball helped UC Santa Barbara clinch a share of the regular season title, and Amber Marani aided UC Riverside into the conference tournament as the duo captured the final women’s soccer weekly awards of 2015.
Ball’s Game-Winner Leads UC Santa Barbara To Share Of Title
UC Santa Barbara sophomore Amanda Ball (Chino Hills, Calif./Chino Hills HS) helped her team to a share of its first regular season conference title since 2006 in garnering Big West Women’s Soccer Offensive Player of the Week accolades.
Ball’s goal in the 78th minute gave the Gauchos a 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton on Thursday. The win ensured UCSB a share of the crown, which last was accomplished in 2006 when the Gauchos split the title with Long Beach State at 16 points. It was Ball’s third goal of the year and her second game-winner. The winning sequence involved Ball racing down the right side of the penalty box, latching onto a pass and escaping a defender before pushing a shot past previously undefeated Titan keeper (11-0-0) Jennifer Stuart.
With an opportunity to win the Big West title outright with a win or tie at CSUN on Sunday, the Gauchos lost a tough 4-3 battle in overtime. However, Ball helped UCSB overcome a 3-0 deficit as her goal at the 68:18 mark knotted the score at 3-3. She scored off of a run from 15 yards out for her fourth goal of the year. The Gauchos ended up losing the game on a penalty kick in the extra frame.
Others nominated: Kourtney Kutscher (CSUN); Jessica Vincent (Long Beach State); McKenna Moriarty (UC Davis); Kiana Palacios (UC Irvine); Brittany Mata (UC Riverside)
Marani Helps Highlanders Shut Down High-Powered CSUN Offense
UC Riverside senior Amber Marani (Walnut, Calif./Walnut HS) contributed to a defensive gem in a victory that clinched her team a berth into the conference tournament, and earned her Big West Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week honors.
The defender spearheaded a unit that kept the ball out of the UC Riverside defensive end for a majority of the match, keeping the Big West’s third-most potent offense off the scoreboard. The 1-0 UCR victory solidified the No. 4 seed in the Big West Tournament.
Marani helped the Highlanders hold the Matadors to just seven shots for the game, and only two on frame. UCR collected its second straight shutout and sixth overall for the season. The Highlanders reached the Big West Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
Others nominated: Imani McDonald (Long Beach State); Alexis Smith (UC Davis); Corey Tobin (UC Irvine)