The #12 UCSB women’s water polo team ended its losing streak with a win against #18 Santa Clara this weekend, but dropped both their conference games, falling 12-9 to #8 San Jose State and 12-5 to #1 Stanford.
The Gauchos (14-17 overall, 2-8 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) began the weekend with San Jose (13-9, 6-4 MPSF), who used a four-goal first period to take the early lead. Santa Barbara managed to get two goals before the end of the first period from sophomore utility Gillian Morgan and sophomore attacker Chrissy Elles to make it 4-3.
In the second period, SJSU added three more goals to increase their lead to 7-4, before adding three more in the third period, but the Gauchos responded with their fifth goal off of a penalty shot from senior defender Aimee Stachowski to make the score 11-5. UCSB brought the deficit to five when they scored with five seconds left in the third period and the Gauchos rallied in the fourth with three goals. Sophomore defender Amanda Tipton scored at the 7:10 mark, while Morgan scored her second goal of the game at the 6:13 mark.
“I thought we played very well. The San Jose State game was very physical and the flow of the game was different than anything we have faced all seen,” Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “The physicality, I thought, we handled very well.”
Despite opening the weekend with a loss, Santa Barbara bounced back and defeated Santa Clara (13-8 overall) 9-4. The Gauchos were aggressive and scored first with a goal from Tipton, who also helped the squad grab their second goal when she passed the ball to Morgan to give Santa Barbara a 2-0 lead. Tipton notched three goals while Sarah Kovach contributed two. Freshman center Lizzie Rouleau and freshman attacker Lauren Walker also scored a goal apiece for UCSB, while Gaucho junior goalie Jenny Gonzales notched eight saves.
“We pretty much controlled the game. They came back to score one, but then we just ran with it. We had an aggressive defense,” Altman said. “We were working on our six-on-fives all week and we did pretty well in this game.”
The Gauchos closed the weekend against the top seeded team, Stanford (21-0, 10-0 MPSF), losing despite a great performance from the offense. Two-meter Christina Hewko had four goals for the Cardinal, including two in the first quarter. UCSB fought back with a goal by Morgan, who took advantage of a Stanford defensive breakdown to make the score 2-1. Stanford answered back with a goal, but the Gauchos quickly fired back with a goal from freshman attacker Alisha Khan to end the quarter at 4-2. Stanford used the second period to break open their lead to eight when they scored four additional goals. Gonzales finished with six saves for Santa Barbara, while goalie Meridith McColl had nine for the Cardinal.