The UCSB women’s water polo team dropped its home opener on Saturday afternoon as #1 UCLA beat the #17 Gauchos 12-0 at UCSB’s Recreation Center Pool.
The Bruins (18-0 overall, 4-0 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) dominated the Gauchos (4-9, 0-3 MPSF) from start to finish in a tough matchup for a Gaucho team that has only four upperclassmen.
“We just have such a young team,” senior goalie Jenny Gonzales said. “A lot of girls got game experience that was definitely key.”
The Gauchos came out with intensity to start the match, playing swarming defense against the Bruins, holding their explosive offense to only two first-quarter goals. With three second-quarter goals, the Bruins found a groove heading into halftime. UCLA came out roaring in the second half and doubled its lead in the third frame, taking a 10-goal lead into the last quarter. The Gauchos had a couple of good chances late to get on the scoreboard, but nothing could find its way into the back of the cage.
“We have good shooters,” Gonzales said. “I think we just need to work on our confidence and just know as long as they keep shooting, some will go in.”
UCLA was led by standout performances from senior Brittany Rowe and junior goalkeeper Brittany Fullen. Rowe led all players with a hat trick, giving her 31 goals on the season. Defensively for UCLA, every tactic the Gauchos tried to get on the scoreboard was thwarted. Rowe stopped everything that came her way, making six saves en route to the shutout.
The Gauchos will have two opportunities to end their nine-game losing streak next weekend when they host #2 Stanford on Friday at 4 p.m. and #8 San Jose State on Saturday at noon.