The UCSB women’s water polo team has been polishing up their offensive game all weekend in preparation for the Triton Invitational being held this weekend at UC San Diego. The Gauchos have lost just one game so far this season, falling to the #1 team in the nation, UCLA, in their home opener this past Sunday.
Head Coach Danielle Altman was optimistic that the Gauchos scored five of the eight goals scored in the second half in Sunday’s 10-7 loss to the Bruins.
“We really stepped it up and [Sunday’s game] is a good indication that we can really beat anybody this year,” Altman said.
The team has been working on capitalizing on the offensive end of the pool, while their defensive game proved to be strong this past weekend as they defeated Cal Baptist, 8-2 and Cal State San Bernardino 12-4.
The Gauchos begin this weekend’s tournament facing #13 ranked Hartwick at 10:30 Saturday morning and will face #14 UC Davis at 4:30 p.m. The women will also see tough competitors in Loyola Marymount University, Long Beach State and San Diego State. Altman is hoping for another combined effort reminiscent of last weekend in order to place well in the tournament.
“We got a lot of solid play out of our bench, and that’s something really important,” Altman said.
There has been little change to the starting lineup so far but one change has added new depth to their goal-scoring ability. The women saw a new face on their offense last weekend and the change proved beneficial as sophomore attacker Lindsay Knott moved into the starting position to contribute to the offensive scheme.
“[Knott] moved into the starting position just last week and stepped up to score two goals in the game against UCLA,” Altman said. “It was kind of fun to see her step into that role and prove that she should be there.”
With the fine-tuning of their offensive game they hope to place in the top tier of the tournament. Last weekend was a good indication of how they needed to improve their game and become a balanced, well-rounded team.
“Our defense is strong and we’ve been working on offense all week long so I think we’ll capitalize on everything,” junior attacker Allie Carkin said.
According to Carkin, the team’s stringent defense is led by defenders freshman Amanda Tipton and junior Aimee Stachowski. Carkin sees her team finishing in the top three this weekend as long as they can continue to play at the level they did last weekend.
“As long as we play up to the level of the other teams we play we can beat them, Carkin,” said.
Other teams in the bracket in La Jolla, Calif. this weekend include Indiana University, UC San Diego, Pomona College, University of Redlands, and Santa Clara University.