By Toan P. Do
They could barely keep their little feet from bouncing up and down off the ground. Unable to contain themselves, they shouted, “Annick! Annick! Can we have your autograph?”
Senior forward Annick Lamb of UC Santa Cruz’s women’s soccer team looked overwhelmed as a team of eager little-league, soccer-playing girls surrounded her to get a signature.
This was the excitement that ensued after Lamb tied UCSC’s all-time women’s scoring record of 54 goals, which helped the Slugs defeat Division III rival Chapman University 2-1 in double overtime. Lamb tied the all-time record that was set by Danielle Pelicano from 1998-2001.
“She is obviously a special player. She has a great athletic ability. A fantastic finisher,” head coach Mike Runeare said. “Once she is in behind the defense, she very rarely misses a goal.”
Lamb talked about her achievement with modesty, recognizing that she couldn’t do anything without her teammates.
“[The record] is not important,” she said. “I don’t want to think about it because I’m playing for the team and there are plenty of other girls out there. It’s not just me going for a record. It’s us going for a win.”
Despite all the hype around the record, Lamb has kept her nerve and remained focused.
“People ask me about it but … I don’t want to get caught up in the numbers,” Lamb said. “They don’t matter.”
The Slugs pulled out a close victory against Chapman as they played into the last seconds of double overtime, which went into the 109th minute.
“Overtime is always tough because everyone’s tired,” Lamb said. “ [But] we were able to come out as strong as we did when we started the game, and we played all the way through till the end. Thirty seconds left and Sara [Damert] and Erica [Wheeler-Dubin] had a beautiful combination and I’m really happy about that.”
After Lamb scored the first goal off a corner-kick from junior midfielder Jackie Belton, the Slugs lost some of the momentum they had built up, letting Chapman tie the game up just a few minutes later.
“After they scored the tying goal we got a little frantic,” sophomore midfielder Sofia Juarez said. “But I’m glad we pulled it out and finished the game.”
The Slugs dominated the second half, setting up multiple opportunities to score, but were unable to convert them into points to take the lead. The air was filled with the anguished cries emanating from the epicenter of Santa Cruz fans as every threat on goal failed.
“We had some chances to put the game away, but we didn’t get discouraged and fought hard,” Runeare said after the game. “We didn’t play for a tie, we played for a win. We didn’t just say, ‘Hey, let’s just drop back and defend,’ we just tried to play the way we were and go forward. At this point in the season I think that was key for us because we had to win. I don’t think a tie was going to do us any good.”
And despite her humble nature, Lamb didn’t stop after tying the scoring record. Two days later, in a 2-0 victory over Cal Lutheran, Lamb scored her 55th career goal.
“Annick collected [the ball] from Cloe Rose and was able to hold off a defender, beat another defender and shoot just outside the goal, about 12 yards out,” Runeare said. “It[bounced] off the post…and she had the poise to follow her shot and finish with a great goal.”
There are still three games in the regular season and with a chance at post season play, there will be opportunities for Lamb to widen her gap on the record.
“She is obviously a special player. She has a great athletic ability. [She is] a fantastic finisher,” Runeare said. “Once she is in behind the defense, she very rarely misses a goal.”
Cyrus Gutnick contributed to this article.