The #17 UCSB women’s water polo team kicked off its 2008 season by picking up back-to-back wins in this weekend’s Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunner Mini Tournament. UCSB (2-0) routed Fresno Pacific 26-3 before going into overtime to defeat host CSU Bakersfield 14-13 in a back-and-forth thriller.

UCSB’s afternoon game against CSU Bakersfield started out as a shootout with nine first quarter goals and the Gauchos leading 5-4. The defenses tightened up in the second period and UCSB went into halftime with a three-goal lead 8-5. However, the lead would be short-lived.

After the Gauchos led Bakersfield for most of the match, a third-period comeback found the teams tied at eleven at the end of regulation. Bakersfield was the only team to find the back of the cage in the first overtime period, giving the Roadrunners their first lead of the game. With their backs against the wall, UCSB erupted for three goals in the second overtime frame to pull out the win. Junior utility Gillian Morgan led the Gaucho attack with five goals, while sophomore center Lizzie Rouleau also pitched in a hat trick in UCSB’s second victory of the day. Senior goalie Jenny Gonzales made six saves for the Gauchos.

Their first win of the day and the season came in a more relaxed fashion against overmatched Fresno Pacific. UCSB scored seemingly at will as the Gauchos jumped out to leads of 7-1, 13-1, and 21-1 after each of the first three quarters. Head Coach Jenn Durley got everyone involved as 13 different Gauchos scored goals, eight of whom were freshmen scoring their first collegiate goals. Morgan, sophomore utility Christie Clark, freshman attacker Katie Kepner and freshman attacker Kellsie Arolla all registered hat tricks. Gonzalez and freshman goalie Kate Murphy split time in cage and combined to make ten saves.

The Gauchos are back in action in San Diego next weekend at UC San Diego’s Triton Invitational.