Spring Break for the UCSB women’s water polo team was not full of fun in the sun, as it may have been for other students, even though they did spend time on the islands of Hawaii during the week. Going 0-5 during the break, the Gaucho woes began when junior defender Aimee Stachowski threw out her shoulder in the first sprint with Hawaii on March 25.

Stachowski would finish the game, playing in pain, but, following the 13-7 loss, she sat out the rest of the week. With her injured and on the bench, Santa Barbara lost one of its top scorers, as well as one of the best defensive players on the team. Stachowski is seen by her teammates as an influential and positive player in the water, and she continued to prove this out of the pool, supporting her team throughout the weekend.

“Even though [Stachowski] was out, she was still on the bench cheering everyone on,” junior center Sarah Kovach said. “She keeps us motivated even when she’s not in the pool.”

The star defender’s presence seemed to be deeply missed during the March 28 loss to Hartwick College, a game that was also played in Hawaii, as the women fell 9-7. Earlier in the season, it was a different story for the Gauchos, who defeated Hartwick 9-6 in their first meeting in February.

“I think we had lapses in our defense which gave them some opportunities that they would not have otherwise capitalized on,” Kovach said.

Stachowski’s injury could not have come at a worse time for the Gauchos, who were coming off a five-game winning streak and were ranked eighth in the nation. With her on the bench, the team could not find any success on the mainland either, falling to Loyola Marymount, Long Beach State and UC Irvine during this past weekend.

Loyola Marymount eked out an 8-7 victory on Friday, beating UCSB for the second time this season, despite senior attacker Alaina Whitaker’s five goals. Yet the game was an improvement from the 7-3 loss the Gauchos suffered to Loyola Marymount earlier this season, especially since the Lions are currently ranked fourth in the nation, coming off a seven-game winning streak.

This season, Santa Barbara has been known throughout the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation as a strong defensive team, but this weekend they struggled on the defensive end, giving up 11 goals to both Long Beach State and Irvine. The women previously beat the 49ers 7-3 this season, but four goals from Whitaker and three from freshman utility Gillian Morgan was not enough to stop the 11-9 Long Beach victory.

The Gauchos will most likely drop from their #8 spot following the release of the Top 20 polls Wednesday after their losing streak continued with an 11-5 loss to #11 Irvine. Senior Utility Jen D’Anna scored two goals in the sprint.

Santa Barbara will hit the road this weekend, facing Cal State Northridge Saturday at 10 a.m., looking to end their five-game skid. Stachowski’s status was still tenuous at press time.