The UCSB women’s water polo team returned to action over the weekend after two weeks off as they traveled south for UC San Diego’s Triton Invitational. After playing three games over the course of Saturday and Sunday, the Gauchos returned home with one win and two losses, beating tournament host UCSD 9-5 and losing 7-5 to both Arizona State and Indiana University. The Gauchos are now 7-7 on the season.
The No. 16 Gauchos opened the tournament on Saturday, as they found themselves pitted against No. 18 UCSD. The Tritons opened the scoring with the first goal of the game, but their lead was short-lived as sophomore utility Molly Hafferkamp responded quickly with the first Gaucho goal. San Diego was able to retake the lead with a minute and a half left in the first quarter, but once again it wouldn’t last long. The second quarter saw UCSB rattle off three unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Tritons looked to make a comeback after outscoring Santa Barbara 3-2 when play resumed, but the attempt was shut down in the final quarter when the Gauchos once again found the net three times to UCSD’s none to start their weekend with a 9-5 win.
UCSB did not fare so well in their second match of the day, in which they faced No. 6 Arizona State for the second time this season. In their first matchup, the Sun Devils soundly beat the Gauchos 12-7. Saturday’s matchup, though similar in result, was much closer. UCSB played Arizona to a draw in the first quarter and led 2-1 early in the second. Unfortunately, Arizona managed to find the net twice more before the whistle and led 3-2 at halftime.
The game got away from the Gauchos in the third quarter. The Sun Devils came out riding the momentum they got at the end of the first half and scored four straight goals. The game looked out of hand, but the Gauchos were not ready to give up. They managed to find the net near the end of the third quarter and then scored two more while blanking Arizona in the fourth. That, however, was where the comeback ended; UCSB suffered a 7-5 defeat.
When play resumed on Sunday, the Gauchos found themselves playing another rematch. This time their opponent was Indiana University, who beat the Gauchos 8-6 when they played in Santa Barbara’s final January game. Unfortunately, Sunday’s result was all too familiar. The first half was deadlocked, as both teams put up three points by halftime. Though the Gauchos fought hard, the Hoosiers once again eked out a two-point victory after besting UCSB 2-1 in both the third and fourth quarters to take a 7-5 win.
The Gauchos will once again enjoy a bit of a break, as their next game will not be played until Feb. 25 when they travel to Irvine for a two-day tournament.