After a season full of highs and lows, the #12 UCSB women’s water polo team is ready to dominate at the 2007 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Tournament. But things might be complicated, as the Gauchos will begin the tourney against #5 San Diego State, a team that has beaten UCSB all season.
However, the Gauchos (15-19 overall, 2-10 in the MPSF) are not shaken by their losses to the Aztecs (25-7, 8-4 MPSF).
“We have been focusing on things that work. We have worked on our counterattacks and defense,” Head Coach Danielle Altman said. “This is the best position we could be in since we match up well with San Diego State.”
The Gauchos have several key players and a powerful goalie to turn their luck around. Senior center Sarah Kovach has scored 42 goals this season, including a UCSB record seven-goal game against Pacific on March 2. Kovach also contributed four goals during last week’s game against Chapman. Another Gaucho the Aztecs must watch out for is sophomore utility Gillian Morgan, who has 41 goals this season and has been a great asset in close games. Junior goalie Jenny Gonzales has notched 217 saves on the season.
The Gauchos will have to be on the lookout for Aztec senior utility Stacey Werner, who has 53 goals this season and was named to the 2007 All-MPSF Second Team. Sophomore utility Jenna Schuster will also be a powerful adversary, as she holds a team-leading scoring average with 70 goals this season. Aztec senior goalie Sarah Kilgore will be put to the test by the Gaucho offense, but Kilgore has notched 292 saves.
“We have been looking to step up our offense. We have a bunch of really good shooters on our team,” Altman said. “We are trying to be more aggressive and create more scoring opportunities in the pool.”
The victor will move on to play the winner of the #4 Hawaii (15-8, 9-3 MPSF) and #13 Pacific (5-21, 0-12 MPSF) match. The losing team from each series will play each other on Friday.