The #10 UCSB women’s water polo team heads north this weekend to face #3 California today at 4 p.m. The Gauchos then travel to Stockton on Saturday to face Pacific at noon.
Santa Barbara, winners of seven out of its last eight games, defeated Irvine last Sunday at Campus Pool in a dramatic comeback. Senior two-meter Erin Lezak, second on the team with 33 goals, scored the game-winning goal in the closing seconds to upend the Anteaters 6-5.
Senior two-meter Teresa Gorbett, who added two goals in the win on Sunday, leads the Gaucho attack with 37 goals on the season. Last week, Gorbett became only the fourth player in UCSB history to score more than 100 goals, moving past Keri Santos for third on the all-time list at 108. Gorbett has also scored a goal in each of the last 10 games.
The Bears enter today’s game winners of their last three games, including a 9-5 win over San Jose State at home last weekend. Cal has won five of its last six games, with its only blemish to then #2 USC. In California’s five losses this year, all have come against opponents ranked in the top four in the nation.
Sophomore center Jodie Needles leads the Bears with 25 goals on the season and is just two goals shy of her career-high she set last year. Freshman center Allison Gold has been on a tear as of late, scoring two goals last weekend. She is second on the team with 16 goals.
Pacific (5-14, 0-7 in the MPSF) has fallen on hard times, recently suffering a 17-6 humiliation from #2 Stanford last Sunday. The Tigers have dropped 11 of their last 12 matches and have given up double digits in goals the last two games.
UOP features junior two-meter Jessica Schroeder, who has already tallied 60 goals on the year, including four against Stanford. Junior utility Kristin Cockerill, who also had a goal in the Stanford match, is second on the team with 36 goals. But goaltending has been Pacific’s doom thus far this year, giving up over nine goals per game, including 11 second-half goals against the Cardinals.
After this weekend’s matches, the Gauchos will come home and play their final homestand next weekend against Loyola Marymount and Long Beach State before traveling to UCLA to close out the season.