The #12 UCSB women’s water polo team took 12th place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament this weekend at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center in Tempe, Ariz. The Gauchos defeated 13th-seeded Pacific 14-10, but dropped their last two games, narrowly falling to #8 Arizona State 10-9 and 11th-seeded Cal State Northridge 11-6.
The Gauchos finished their season 17-23 overall and showed great power against Pacific (5-25). Senior defender Aimee Stachowski had a game-high four goals, with two coming in the fourth period. Pacific junior utility Kellie Fletcher helped her team start the game with a hat trick in the first period, but the Gauchos fired back with five goals of their own and continued to have the upper advantage throughout the game. Stachowski, freshman utility Christie Clark, junior attacker Lindsay Knott and sophomore utility Gillian Morgan each scored two goals while senior goalkeeper Rosey Redaelli grabbed eight saves.
Despite capturing a victory against Pacific, the Gauchos fell to host Arizona State (14-13) by one goal. For the first three periods, it was a game of cat and mouse as each team answered the other’s scoring opportunities. The Sun Devils picked up goals from sophomore all-around Addison Doud, who netted a goal in each quarter, and from freshman center Kelly Phelps, whose outside shot in the final period put the Sun Devils on top for the win.
Santa Barbara, however, dominated the pool for the majority of the game and received two hat tricks from Morgan and Christie Clark. The Gauchos fought hard, but Sun Devil junior goalie Caylinn Wallace would not give UCSB an opportunity to score, blocking six shots in the fourth quarter. Junior goalie Jenny Gonzales recorded nine saves for Santa Barbara in the game.
The Gauchos ended their MPSF tournament run against Northridge (15-19), which took advantage in the second half to take down UCSB. Santa Barbara netted four goals in the first half to the Matadors’ two, but Northridge opened the second half with five goals to the Gaucho’s two. With a 7-6 lead, the Matadors completely shut down the Gaucho offense and managed to squeeze in four more goals to end UCSB’s tournament 11-6. Knott led the Gaucho squad with two goals and Gonzales stopped eight shots at the net. Junior two-meter Christie Cruz and sophomore driver Jessica Coy led the Matadors by completing one hat trick each to keep CSUN in the lead. Morgan, Clark, freshman attacker Alisha Khan and freshman center Lizzie Rouleau all scored one goal each for the Gauchos.
– Ana Pineda