The No. 12 UCSB women’s water polo team tried to surge back into action last weekend at Campus Pool against No. 1 UCLA. Instead of surging, the Gauchos submerged into an ebb.
Santa Barbara (16-15 overall, 4-7 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) was unable to slow down or stop top-ranked UCLA en route to a 14-2 loss.
Saturday’s match was billed as a celebration for senior Gauchos and their final farewell to historic Campus Pool. The festivities preceding the match were overshadowed by the physically dominating performance of the red-hot Bruins. Santa Barbara was aggravated about the loss but is hardly feeling discouraged before going into next weekend’s MPSF Championships at Los Angeles.
UCLA’s (18-3, 10-1) last loss came at the hands of Stanford on March 3.
“It is never fun to lose by so much, but we can’t let it affect us with the playoffs so close,” UCSB junior two-meter Kim Feig said. “We will make the proper adjustments before Friday.”
The Gauchos’ morale remained high, however, considering the severity of the loss. The ferocity was absent for the first half on Saturday, as six different Bruins scored en route to a disheartening 9-0 halftime deficit.
The onslaught continued well into the fourth quarter, as the Gauchos found themselves at the behest of a Bruin behemoth. UCLA seem primed and ready for next weekend’s championships, but the Gauchos deserve credit for not giving up, even when the outcome has long since been decided.
Senior two-meter and all-time leading Gauchos scorer Kelley Tiffany scored two goals in the final minute, a fitting finale to her storied career here.
“K.T. was great and has been for four years,” senior driver and team co-captain Mary Blumberg said. “If our offense is to perform next weekend, she must play an integral part.”
The Gauchos will likely face USC or Stanford next weekend at the MPSF Championships.
“We know what we have to work on, so its not like we are in total chaos,” senior driver and co-captain Maureen Rabe said. “UCLA is just a very good team that is playing extremely well right now, and we had to deal with that on Saturday.”