On Senior Day, UCSB women’s water polo came up just short of Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent San Jose State. The Gauchos dropped their last home game of the season to the Spartans 6-4.
In the final game of her career at Campus Pool on Sunday, senior Erin Enriquez started in goal for the Gauchos. Enriquez played well, making key saves to keep UCSB in the game, but they were not enough to give the Gauchos a win.
“I wanted to get out and play the best I could,” Enriquez said of starting in the final home game of her career.
UCSB took the early 1-0 lead when junior Katy Kunkel put one past San Jose State goalie Michelle Rozzen. The UCSB defense held the lead until the 2:49 mark in the first quarter when the Spartans got on the board with a breakaway goal. San Jose State’s Laura Scott would score with just 30 seconds left in the first quarter to take the 2-1 lead.
Gaucho sophomore Jennifer D’Anna tied the game early in the second quarter with her team-leading 35th goal of the season. UCSB continued their offensive attack on the Spartan goal, testing Rozzen time and time again. Their work paid off with 2:11 left in the second quarter when junior Becky Laird broke the tie to give the Gauchos a 3-2 lead. However, the lead did not last long as the Spartans scored just 10 seconds later to make the score 3-3 at halftime.
Over the final two quarters UCSB was plagued with turnovers and missed opportunities.
“We just turned the ball over,” UCSB Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “We just made sloppy passes and that’s not going to win you the game.”
Both defenses dominated in the third quarter. The score remained 3-3 until the Spartans took the lead with just six seconds remaining on Scott’s second goal of the game.
The Gauchos made good on their first scoring chance in the final frame when sophomore Alaina Whitaker put one in the back of the net, tying the score at four, but UCSB was unable to score again. The Spartans would put in the game winner and an insurance goal in the final four minutes to earn the 6-4 victory.
UCSB (12-15, 2-7 in the MPSF) also dropped a close match Friday on the road at Loyola Marymount, 6-5. Despite sophomore captain Erika Clark’s team-leading three goals, the Gauchos were still unable to clench the win.
UCSB will finish their season on the road next weekend before heading into the MPSF Championships at the end of the month. The Gauchos are optimistic as they finish out their season.
“We have to refocus and get it done,” Altman said. “We don’t have anywhere to go but up.”