SAN DIEGO, CALIF. – After splitting the first two games of the Triton Invitational on Saturday, the No. 13 ranked UCSB women's water polo team split two more, facing off against two ranked teams in No. 11 Long Beach State, and No. 19 Loyola Marymount. After cruising by Long Beach, the Gauchos lost a close one, falling 7-6 to LMU at Canyonview Pool on Sunday evening.
UCSB got off to a great start in their first game of the day, as they finished the opening quarter with a 3-0 lead over higher ranked Long Beach. After a slow start for both teams, Sarah Snyder broke the silence with a goal at 3:51 to give the Gauchos a lead they would not relinquish. Kate Pipkin got on the board shortly after with a goal of her own with about a minute remaining. Mollie Simmons capped off a strong opening quarter with a goal at the buzzer to push the UCSB lead to 3-0 going into the second.
Sarah Kreiser found the back of the net to open the second quarter. Both teams struggled to score after Kreiser's goal, up until Long Beach got on the board to make it 4-1. Snyder responded to the goal with two more of her own, and UCSB headed into halftime with a comfortable lead of 6-1 in a game that seemed to already be decided.
The 49ers opened the quarter with a quick goal to cut their deficit to four, but that would be their only goal of the quarter. Meanwhile, three Gauchos scored in the quarter, as Pipkin scored her second of the game midway through the third. Natalie Selin then fired one in for her first, and Emily Martin scored with eleven seconds left to make it 9-2 entering the final period of play.
With the game well in hand, UCSB rolled to an easy victory, with Snyder scoring her fourth goal of the game in the final period. The Gauchos topped the 49ers 10-5, pulling off the rare upset blowout victory with a game against No. 19 Loyola Marymount looming later in the day.
Snyder led the team in scoring with four goals, while Pipkin followed closely behind with two of her own. Kreiser, Simmons, Selin, and Martin each contributed one to the winning effort. Goalie Kenzi Snyder held down the defense, limiting the high powered 49ers to just five goals in the match.
After taking down the 49ers, UCSB played their second and final game of the day against No. 19 Loyola Marymount.
LMU opened the contest with an early goal, but the Gauchos quickly responded, as Martin powered home the first UCSB goal out of the post. The Lions would score to make it 2-1 with 5:04 left, but Snyder and Pipkin scored consecutive unanswered goals to make it 3-2 by the end of the opening period.
That momentum carried over to the second quarter, as Kreiser scored to make it 4-2 with just over five minutes remaining in the half. Selin scored to push the score to 5-2, which prompted an LMU timeout. The Lions used this timeout to regroup, and came out with a new focus. They would go on to score back-to-back goals before Snyder scored just before the half, and the Gauchos led 6-4 at the break.
Both teams battled hard defensively in the third, as neither team would score until LMU broke the silence with 3:12 remaining. The Lions scored twice in the quarter while the Gauchos were held scoreless. Kenzi Snyder made several key blocks to keep the LMU run from getting out of control. The teams were all knotted up at six apiece entering the final period of play.
The uptick in defensive play carried over into the final quarter, as both teams fought hard to get their sides the win. In an intense defensive quarter, LMU was able to produce the lone goal, putting the Lions up 7-6 with just over three minutes remaining. The Gauchos had their chances down the stretch, but could not convert. The Lions defensive intensity stifled UCSB, who failed to score in the second half, squandering a three goal lead.
Snyder once again led the way for the Gauchos offense, as she scored two goals against the Lions, bringing her total for the day to six goals. Kreiser, Pipkin, Selin, and Martin all scored one apiece.
These two games brought an end to the 2018 Triton Invitational, where the Gauchos finished in tenth place with a record of 2-2. The Gauchos overall record now stands at 9-5. UCSB looks to improve on the young season at the UCI Invitational in Irvine in two weeks.