The UCSB women’s water polo team managed a split this weekend after giving #5 California a scare on Friday.
The Gauchos fell 6-3 in Berkeley but defeated Pacific 7-4 on Saturday in Stockton to salvage the road trip.
Santa Barbara gave the Golden Bears (12-5, 5-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) an early scare after a quick goal from freshman utility Jennifer D’Anna only 1:40 into the game gave UCSB a 1-0 edge. The lead did not last long, as Cal rattled off three unanswered goals to seize control of the game. After sophomore attacker Cara Chlebicki tied the game at one, sophomore center Jodie Needles scored twice for the Bears.
Santa Barbara (15-10, 3-5) tried to hold to a two-point deficit heading into halftime, but freshman center Allison Gold gave Cal a three-point advantage when she scored on a skip shot past UCSB junior goalie Erin Enriquez.
Chlebicki put Cal up 5-1 in the third, ending the Gauchos’ hope for an upset. Sophomore utility Katy Kunkel scored two goals later in the half to inch UCSB closer, but Cal tacked on an insurance goal.
Santa Barbara found its stroke of good luck in Stockton on Saturday, using five first-half goals to dispose of the Tigers.
The Gauchos used strong performances by Kunkel and senior two-meters Teresa Gorbett and Erin Lezak in the win. The trio scored two goals each, and Kunkel moved within two goals of 100 for her career. Kunkel has scored 11 goals in her past five matches.
After seeing her 10-game goal-scoring streak come to an end at Cal, Gorbett rallied for two more goals, increasing her team lead to 39 on the season. Enriquez bounced back with six saves against the Tigers after managing only two at Cal.
The Gauchos were not threatened during most of the match, maintaining a two-goal cushion throughout. Pacific, 5-14 overall, fell to 0-7 in the MPSF and has yet to register a home win.
Santa Barbara returns home this Saturday to play its final nonconference match of the year against #7 Loyola Marymount. The game will be at Campus Pool at 1 p.m.