After breaking into the top 10 for the first time in team history, the No. 10 UCSB women’s water polo team traveled to Thousand Oaks on Saturday for the Posada Royale Invitational, a one-day event that saw them move their record to 11-10 on the season after a narrow 7-6 loss to Occidental in the early game and a dominating 15-3 drubbing of Azusa Pacific in the late one.
Saturday’s second game was well in hand for the Gauchos almost from the moment the whistle blew. UCSB found the net four times in the game’s opening period and kept their opponent off the board entirely. The second period began much like the first did. UCSB rattled off another four goals to make it eight unanswered before Azusa Pacific finally managed to find the back of the Santa Barbara goal. That score only momentarily halted the UCSB attack, as the Gauchos scored twice more before allowing their opponents to get a second goal less than a minute before the half.
As the second half opened, the Gauchos found themselves in control once again. Freshman Claryann Olofsson-Loo, one of nine Gauchos to get in on the scoring, scored two of her team-leading five goals in the third quarter to give the Gauchos a 10-goal lead, and once again the defense kept Azusa Pacific off the board. They did manage another goal in the fourth quarter, but UCSB put up three more of its own as the Gauchos rolled to a 15-3 victory.
Santa Barbara had a much tougher time finding offensive production in the early game. Freshman Lauren Martin gave the Gauchos a 1-0 lead in the first quarter, but they were unable to prevent Occidental from tying it up before the end of the quarter. The second quarter progressed in much the same way. Sophomore Molly Hafferkamp gave UCSB another one-goal lead, but once again they were unable to hold it and at halftime the game was tied 2-2.
The third quarter did nothing to end the deadlock. This time it was Occidental that scored first, but the Gauchos tied it up again. Both teams added another goal each to make the score 4-4 heading into the final quarter. The game was tied at six heading into the final minute of the match. With 1:06 left and a six-on-five advantage, Occidental took one final lead. This time the Gauchos were unable to even the score and suffered a very tough 7-6 loss.
UCSB will return home for its next game on March 11 when it hosts Harvard. The match is set to start at noon.