The #11 UCSB women’s water polo team wrapped up its regular season on Saturday, and now the team will focus on the upcoming Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament set to kick off Friday at Stanford University.
The ninth-seeded Gauchos hope to halt a three-game losing streak against the eighth-seeded San JosŽ State Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the Avery Aquatic Center in Palo Alto.
Coming off of two rough losses last week to top-ranked UCLA and #4 Long Beach State, the Gauchos will face a Spartan team that handed them a loss back on Feb. 28. In that match at SJSU, the Spartans (15-14, 3-7 in the MPSF) defeated the Gauchos (15-13, 3-7) 10-6.
UCSB senior two-meter Teresa Gorbett believes that Friday’s match will go much more smoothly.
“We’ve grown a lot since the first time we played SJSU,” she said. “We are playing much better defense and offense. The first time we played them we had to suffer through a six-hour drive and play an early match. This time we are going to be better rested and ready.”
The winner of the first round match will face first-seeded Stanford (17-2, 9-1) later in the day.
“We’re all just trying to stay real positive,” Gorbett said. “We’re more confident this time and we know we can beat [SJSU].”
Junior goalie Kristen McGlennon commented on the importance of team leadership going into the MPSF Tournament.
“Seniors are playing a big role lately,” she said. “They are our team leaders and leading scorers. Their experience in the tournament and their leadership plays a big role.”
This tournament marks the last time that seniors Gorbett, two-meter Erin Lezak, drivers Jessica Fay, Laura Anderson and Megan Ricks will be able to take to the pool for UCSB.
“It’s going to be emotional,” Gorbett said. “I’ve had quite an experience in my four years here. I’ve not only learned to be a water polo player, but I’ve learned to grow as a person as well. It’s definitely going to be sad when it’s all over.”
First-year UCSB Head Coach Danielle Altman will be leading the Gauchos into the tournament. Altman previously spent four years coaching the Cal State San Bernardino squad.
“We’ve had a great year with Danielle,” Gorbett said. “She has a very positive coaching style and I see good things in the future for Gaucho water polo.”
Gorbett and Lezak lead the Santa Barbara offensive attack with 40 and 35 goals, respectively.
The MPSF championship match will take place Sunday, April 27.