Saturday was both a disappointment and a redemption of sorts for the #10 UCSB women’s water polo team as it dropped a 6-5 decision to #6 Cal at home. Yet the loss was still a big step up compared to the 11-6 loss they suffered against Cal last weekend in the Gaucho Invitational. On Sunday, the Gauchos took out their disappointment on unranked Pacific, scoring at will in the 18-3 victory.
“We outplayed [Cal] the whole game but we just couldn’t capitalize on our power plays,” UCSB Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities early enough in the game and going into the fourth quarter that will cost you.”
Down 4-2 early in the third quarter sophomore attacker Lindsay Knott hit the back of the cage giving Santa Barbara some hope in upsetting the Golden Bears. Yet, Cal’s Brittani Llorente quickly answered making it 5-3 going into the fourth quarter. Midway through the fourth, Jean Clark answered with her second goal of the game and junior utility ZiZi Clark followed with another making it 5-5 and bringing the women within sights of a big upset late in the sprint.
Cal, however, quelled Santa Barbara’s upset bid, capitalizing on a breakaway goal with just over a minute left. The Guachos fell to 7-9 overall, and remained winless in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). It was evident that this Gaucho squad is much improved from the one that was drubbed by the Golden Bears just a week earlier. One of the biggest factors was Santa Barbara’s stingy defense. Junior goalkeeper Rosey Redaelli had eleven saves against the Bears, notorious for their goal-scoring ability, while Cal had nine saves shared between two goalkeepers.
“We didn’t have as many turnovers and we didn’t let them shoot from the outside as much,” junior defender Aimee Stachowski said. “We had a lot more patience.”
Sunday was an altogether different story for the Gauchos as unranked Pacific traveled to Campus Pool. Knott led the Gauchos in scoring, hitting the back of the cage three times in the sprint. The Tigers – who have just 12 athletes in comparison to the Gauchos who carry 38 players – looked entirely outmatched in the water as Santa Barbara ripped off six straight goals to begin the match.
Pacific scored twice in the second quarter making it 6-2 at the half but the third period belonged to the Gauchos, as they went on a 10-0 run that ran into the early part of the final quarter. All in all, 12 different players scored in Sunday’s onslaught and four women contributed two goals each.
The victory over Pacific marked the Gauchos’ first MPSF win. They are currently 1-4 in MSPF play and 8-9 on the season. The women face off with #8 Arizona State on Friday, March 10 at 4 p.m. at Campus Pool. The Gauchos look to seek revenge on the Sun Devils, after suffering an 8-6 loss in their final game of the Gaucho Invitational.