After a rough week in its first home opener here at Campus Pool, losing to Irvine but winning against Cal State San Bernardino, the #12 UCSB women’s water polo team is ready to hit the road this weekend and capture a victory at the Irvine Invitational against the #4 University of Hawaii.

“I’m very confident that we will do well. We are fully capable and we have to get in and play a clean, solid game to beat them,” Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “The girls are definitely motivated.”

The Gaucho women (5-3 overall, 0-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) have showed their strength and talent throughout their pre-season games, winning against Hartwick (10-7), #16 Michigan (9-3) and #19 Santa Clara (6-4). The Gauchos will have to show a solidified front to defeat Hawaii (6-3, 4-1 MPSF), which has been on a hot streak defeating #10 Arizona State (1-4, 0-1 MPSF), #12 Long Beach State (3-2) and #8 San Diego State (4-2, 0-1 MPSF).

If Santa Barbara defeats Hawaii at the Invitational, it will have the opportunity to play against either #5 Cal Berkeley (3-4, 1-2 MPSF) or #14 UC San Diego (4-2), depending on how these teams perform. Despite the Gauchos’ strong performances, Altman continues to work on small details to perfect the team’s overall performances.

“We are constantly working on our counterattack and our shooting abilities. We want to put more balls in the net,” Altman said. “They have been working really hard and they are motivated to win and show their abilities.”

The Gauchos proved to be a worthy adversary last week against Cal State San Bernardino (2-5), dominating from the start of the game and winning 16-10. Great performances were seen by freshman utility Christine Clark, who netted four goals and senior center Sarah Kovach and defender Aimee Stachowski, who each contributed two goals. Junior attacker Lindsay Knott scored two back-to-back goals, and sophomore defender Amanda Tipton also scored two for the Gauchos.

Although the Gauchos defeated San Bernardino, the Gauchos could not capture a victory against conference opponent Irvine (6-1, 1-0 MPSF). The Gauchos lost 6-3, but showed they had a powerful and solid defensive squad. Santa Barbara held off any scoring opportunity for the Anteaters well into the first and second quarters. Senior utility Zizi Clark, freshman attacker Alisha Khan, and Knott scored one goal each for UCSB.