After a fifth-place finish in its last tournament, the No. 9 UCSB women’s water polo team stumbled into 11th place at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational at UC Irvine.
The Gauchos defeated No. 22 Cal State Northridge and No. 16 UC San Diego while losing to No. 8 Michigan yet again and No. 17 San Jose State in a thriller, bringing their record to 10-6 on the season with half of those losses coming from Michigan.
In the last game on Friday, UCSB faced Michigan for the third time this season with losses in the previous two matchups.
This time out, the Gauchos struck first with a goal from freshman utility Sarah Snyder three minutes into the opening quarter.
About 30 seconds later, Michigan tied it up at 1-1. With the quarter ending at the same score, this match was looking like another defensive battle as expected.
UCSB couldn’t get anything going with the attack in this one. The Gauchos were unable to get a goal in the second quarter, while the Wolverines took a solid 3-1 lead heading into the halftime break.
The Gauchos brought it within one 30 seconds into the second half with a goal from sophomore utility Kate Pipkin. However, the goal-scoring woes continued throughout the rest of the second half as Santa Barbara was outscored 2-7.
The final score was 10-4 in Michigan’s favor, marking their third victory over UCSB this season.
In its following match the next morning, UCSB faced Cal State Northridge with both squads looking to bounce back after beginning the tournament with tough defeats.
The Gauchos got off to a slow start, as the Matadors had a 2-0 lead with 4:27 remaining in the first quarter.
At the 2:08 mark Santa Barbara was finally on the board after freshman attacker Natalie Selin scored her first goal of the weekend.
Just 42 seconds into the first half, senior utility Taylor Shore evened the score at 2-2 in what turned out to be a remarkable quarter for the captain.
Less than a minute went by when Snyder scored to give UCSB its first lead of the contest.
Shore then stole the show as she netted her second goal of the game at the 4:13 mark and her third goal with 3:32 remaining. Shore’s second-quarter hat trick was the fifth time in 15 games this season that she has scored at least three goals in a game.
The first half ended 5-4 with CSUN very much alive to take the victory.
Eight goals were scored between both teams in the third quarter. First it was sophomore utility Sarah Kreiser, then Snyder extended the Gaucho lead to 7-4.
CSUN answered with two goals of its own as it continued to hang around.
With a 7-6 lead halfway through the third quarter, UCSB scored three consecutive goals, two from Pipkin and one from Shore. The third quarter ended 10-7 with the Gauchos on top.
Kreiser scored the only goal for Gauchos in a quiet final stanza, giving them their first win of the tournament by the score of 11-8.
Redshirt senior and recent returnee Miranda Schrader contributed with a team-high four assists. Freshman goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder was also very productive with nine saves.
A victory meant UCSB was set to face San Jose State to try to continue its winning ways.
In this tight contest, the first period ended 2-1, advantage Spartans. Senior defender Sophie Trabucco scored the lone goal for UCSB.
UCSB put together a strong quarter in the second as it took the lead 3-2 with two goals from senior attacker Brenna Thomas.
A back-and-forth third quarter included two goals from each team. Snyder and Kreiser scored for Santa Barbara to keep the one-goal advantage at 5-4.
Pipkin threw in her only goal of the game with 5:19 remaining to increase the lead to two goals.
San JoseState came together for a late surge, scoring two goals in the final 2:12 of the game to send this one into overtime.
The Spartans opened the scoring, but Kreiser answered 24 seconds later, sending it into a second overtime.
UCSB couldn’t find the net in the second overtime and conceded two goals, resulting in a heartbreaking loss. This is the first loss for the Gauchos against a team ranked behind them in the national rankings.
Snyder tied her season-high with 15 saves in the cage. Thomas and Kreiser led the team in goals with two apiece.
After dropping two of their first three games, UCSB was in the 11th-place game against UC San Diego, who also had a record of 1-2 in the tournament.
At their previous tournament in San Diego, the Gauchos only allowed 6.5 goals per game. Through three games in Irvine, the Gauchos conceded nine goals per game.
Santa Barbara reverted to their old ways as they stepped it up on the defensive end versus UCSD. Both the defense and the offense had some great moments in this game.
The first quarter was a Gaucho goal-scoring frenzy. Five goals were poured in by Kreiser, Trabucco, Selin and Pipkin, who had two.
Seniors Thomas and Shore scored the two second-quarter goals, which brought the score to 7-2 at halftime with UCSB on top.
In the third quarter Pipkin finished off her hat trick, with UCSB leading 8-5 heading into their final quarter of the tournament. Neither team found a goal in the fourth quarter, which meant UCSB earned 11th place in the Barbara Kalbus Invitational.
The results were not as hoped, but this young team still had plenty of good moments to take away from the weekend.
Next weekend UCSB will participate in the Claremont Convergence before beginning Big West conference play.