The UCSB women’s water polo team did not have a fun weekend in Irvine. After falling to UC Irvine in MPSF play on Friday, the Gauchos (4-8 overall, 0-2 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) lost all four of their games in the UC Irvine Women’s Water Polo Invitational, finishing 16th in the 16-team tournament and extending their losing streak to eight games.
While an 0-5 weekend is as bad as it sounds, the #13 Gauchos can find solace in factoring in the premier national competition of the tournament and the competitiveness the team displayed against Long Beach State (6-5 overall, 1-1 MPSF) and CSU Northridge (4-7 overall, 0-1 MPSF). In a tournament that boasted 16 of the top 17 teams in the nation, UCSB lost to #5 Cal (9-4 overall, 2-1 MPSF), #12 Long Beach State, #16 UC San Diego and #17 CSU Northridge.
Saturday afternoon’s contest against Long Beach State was the closest the Gauchos would come to a win all weekend. After losses to Irvine (7-4) and Cal (7-2) already on the weekend, UCSB fell behind the Waves 8-5 through three quarters of play. The Gauchos started the fourth on fire and exploded for six goals to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately for UCSB, the Waves outscored the Gauchos 2-0 in the overtime frame, and UCSB’s slide continued.
Saturday’s failures put the Gauchos in the consolation round of the tournament and left them with a best-case scenario 13th place finish and some pride intact. UCSB opened Sunday’s action against Northridge and played them pretty evenly throughout. The Gauchos got four goals from junior utility Gillian Morgan and brought the game within one with 44 seconds left, but it was all for naught as UCSB lost 8-7.
The Gauchos started the weekend against an Irvine team that beat UCSB once already this season. UCSB jumped out to a 2-1 lead before the Anteaters took over in the second quarter by shutting the Gauchos out in the frame 2-0. The Anteater momentum continued in the second half as Irvine extended its lead throughout to a 7-4 finish.
Morgan did all she could to carry the Gauchos offensively throughout the full slate of action. The team leader in scoring netted 11 goals this weekend, including four goal performances against Long Beach State and Northridge.
It won’t get any easier for the Gauchos, as UCSB is back in action at home this weekend at Campus Pool against visiting #1 UCLA at noon.