After finishing ninth at the UCSD Triton
Invitational in San Diego, the #15 UCSB
women’s water polo team took 12th place
at the UC Irvine Invitational last weekend.
The Gauchos split the first day, losing
10-6 to #4 UC Berkeley and knocking off
Cal State Northridge 11-8, before suffering
losses to #11 San Jose State and #10 Irvine
on the second day.
“This is the premier tournament of the
year,” Head Coach Wolf Wigo said. “You
have pretty much the top 16 teams in the
country, so every game is going to be competitive.
Every team we’re playing is going to
be ranked higher than us.”
In their first match against Berkeley,
the Gauchos were down 4-3 in the third
quarter, but the Golden Bears scored three
in the period on their way to a 10-6 victory.
Sophomore goalie Ruth Milne had 14 saves
in the effort.
In the second game of the day against
CSU Northridge, Claire Buchanan and
Kathryn Nelson once again led the offense
with two goals apiece, and seven other
Gauchos got in on the scoring to give UCSB
an 11-8 win.
“Cal is a much better team than
Northridge,” Wigo said. “We were in the
game the whole way. That was a strong
performance for us. We had two good performances
on Saturday.”
On Sunday against San Jose State, UCSB
was tied 3-3 after the first quarter, but the
Spartans outscored the Gauchos 8-4 in the
next two quarters, pulling out an 11-9 win.
In the loss, Buchanan and senior utility
Christie Clark each had three goals to lead
the offense. Clark was named Big West
Co-Player of the Week this week after posting
nine total goals in Irvine.
In UCSB’s final game of the tournament,
the host and nationally ranked #10
Anteaters broke out to an early 3-1 lead
after the first quarter and held the Gauchos
scoreless through the third. UCSB outscored
Irvine 3-1 in the final eight minutes,
but the Anteaters escaped with the 8-6
“[Our performance] is acceptable,” Wigo
said. “I was hoping we could have gotten
one or two wins on the second day. We’re
still playing teams that were ranked ahead of
us, but I thought we could have done better.
I thought we played really well the first day.”
With the NCAA Tournament over two
months away, this weekend prove to be a
good preview of the competition the team
would face, should it go that far.
“It’s going to be hard [to make the tournament],”
Wigo said. “The first step is we
have to win the Big West Conference. All
six teams are going be ranked right next to
each other on the national poll.”
The Gauchos will head to Thousand
Oaks on March 4, where they will play
three games in the Cal Lutheran Mini