Gauchos Sweep Day Two, Earn Fifth-Place Finish at Triton Invitational

Brenna Thomas (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Brenna Thomas (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – No. 9 UCSB (8-4) earned a fifth-place finish at the Triton Invitational thanks to wins over No. 17 San Diego State (4-4, 1-0) and No. 18 UC Davis (4-10) on Sunday. The Gauchos defeated the Aztecs 9-6 thanks to a hat trick from sophomore utility Sarah Kreiser before holding on for a slim 8-7 victory over the Aggies in the fifth-place game.

Senior utility Taylor Shore scored a hat trick of her own in the win over Davis, while Kreiser added another two goals. Freshman goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder had an outstanding day in goal, finishing with 27 saves and a .675 save percentage over both games.

San Diego State

The Aztecs struck first less than a minute into their game with the Gauchos, but senior attacker Brenna Thomas would put away her sole goal of the day at the 3:11 mark of the first period to tie it at 1-1. Back-to-back goals from Kreiser and senior utility Jenna Solberg midway through the second gave UCSB its first lead of the game at 3-1.

San Diego State was able to cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the second half, but the Gauchos fired back with three unanswered goals from sophomore utility Kate Pipkin, Kreiser and redshirt junior utility Miranda Schrader to take their largest lead of the day, 6-2.

After heading into the final frame leading 6-3, the Gauchos would once again extend their lead to four as Kreiser completed her hat trick just 20 seconds into the period. Two straight goals from the Aztecs brought them within two scores at 7-5, but it was too little too late. Pipkin would add another goal to her total on a penalty and freshman utility Sarah Snyder added a goal to make it 9-5 with just 1:37 to go. UCSB would go on to win 9-6.

Shore, Schrader, Snyder and Solberg all shared the team-lead with one assist each. Pipkin led the way with two drawn ejections, one of which came on the penalty that gave her her second goal.

On the defensive side, goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder was in great form once again, tallying 13 saves for a .684 save percentage. Shore, Pipkin and freshman attacker Natalie Selin all recorded one assist as well, but it was Solberg who finished with two to lead her team.

UC Davis

In the fifth-place game against Davis, UCSB trailed out of the gates for the second time in the day. This time however, the Gauchos found themselves with a two-goal deficit before Shore got her team on the board with 2:26 to go in the first. Another Aggie goal late in the first put UCSB at a 3-1 disadvantage heading into the second quarter.

Things turned around for the Gauchos before halftime, as they embarked on a 3-0 run to open the second, taking their first lead of the game at 4-3 after goals from Pipkin, Shore and freshman utility Abbey Grosse. Another late goal from the Aggies made it 4-4 heading into the break.

UCSB regained its advantage with another goal from Kreiser early in the third, and senior defender Sophie Trabucco made it 6-4 with a goal at the 2:45 mark.

After carrying a slim 6-5 lead into the fourth, the Gauchos created some separation by scoring the first two goals of the final period. Shore completed her hat trick, scoring less than a minute in, and Kreiser would make it 8-5 with her fifth goal of the day several minutes later.

The Aggies made things interesting in the latter parts of the match, cutting the lead to 8-7 with under a minute to go, but UCSB was able to hold on for its second straight win.

Pipkin and Trabucco had UCSB's only two assists in the game, while Shore and Thomas led the way with three and two steals, respectively. Pipkin also drew two more ejections, and Grosse added one.

Kenzi Snyder finished with 14 saves and a steal to anchor the Gaucho defense in the cage.

UCSB will have a week off from action before returning to the pool for the UC Irvine Invitational (Feb. 24-26).