The #12 UCSB women’s water polo team lost its opening game at the Irvine Invitational to #4 Hawaii 9-7 on Saturday, but regained its composure and defeated #14 UC San Diego 8-5 on Sunday.

The Gauchos (6-4 overall, 0-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) were led by senior utility Zizi Clark against the Rainbows (8-7 overall, 5-2 MPSF), and registered a hat trick in the game. Junior attacker Lindsay Knott won the sprint for Santa Barbara and UCSB scored the first goal when senior defender Aimee Stachowski netted the ball 38 seconds into the game.

Hawaii retaliated at the 3:47 mark when sophomore two-meter Lisa Van Raalte put one in. Clark scored her first goal within a minute of the start of the second period, but Rainbow sophomore Kelly Mason scored two straight goals to give Hawaii a 3-2 lead. The Rainbows would score two additional goals, but Clark responded by scoring two back-to-back goals in the second half to bring the score to 5-4.

The Gaucho defense could not hold together and allowed two more goals from Mason and Raatle, bringing the score to 7-4. The Gauchos then went on a 3-0 run to tie the game in the fourth quarter, with goals from freshman utility Christine Clark, sophomore utility Gillian Morgan and Stachowski, but Hawaii scored an additional two goals to capture the victory.

Santa Barbara did not let the loss keep them down; the squad defeated the Tritons (4-4) the following day. Senior center Sarah Kovach scored two minutes into the game, but the Tritons managed to tie it back up. Stachowski and senior attacker Allie Carkin also scored for the Gauchos to bring the score to 3-1. Stachowski scored again to give the Gauchos a 4-2 lead heading into the second half. The Gauchos continued to dominate in the third quarter, when Knott scored a goal and opened with a 2-0 run to secure the victory.

The Gauchos go on the road this Saturday to play against Davis at 11 a.m.