The #10 UCSB women’s water polo team will look to rebound from a heartbreaking 8-7 upset at #17 Arizona State this past weekend and try to avoid another upset on the road.
The Gauchos (12-8 overall, 3-4 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) will conclude a stretch of seven consecutive road games with stops at conference rivals Pacific (10-12, 2-6) and Cal (12-7, 3-4).
Thus far, UCSB is 2-3 on its current road trip, in which every game has been decided by just one goal. The biggest problem on the trip for the Gauchos has been inconsistency; they have been in games during which they lost sizable leads and games in which they recovered from sizable deficits. Last Sunday against ASU, the Gauchos led 3-0 after the first quarter, but went into halftime with just a 4-3 lead and would go on to lose in overtime.
“Being consistent and coming out strong in all four quarters is definitely important,” Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “We’ve been trying to work on our mental and physical preparation for these games down the stretch.”
On Saturday, the Gauchos travel to Stockton, where they will face unranked Pacific. The Tigers endured a long, seven-game trek of their own this season. They returned home last Saturday only to fall victim to a 14-2 thrashing at the hands of #3 Stanford. After being blown out, Pacific will likely come out with a lot of energy in front of its home crowd.
On Sunday, UCSB will find itself in Berkeley, where it will try to pull off an upset of its own. With the MPSF Tournament coming up and UCSB and Cal deadlocked at 3-4 in the MPSF, this game should be significant for both teams.
“These conference games become really important; they are what determine our seeding in the [MPSF] Tournament at the end of the season,” Altman said. “The tournament is what all the time, energy and effort come down to, and we definitely want to build momentum going in.”