No. 4 UCSB Downs No. 3 UC Davis in Big West Tournament Third Place Match

Sarah Kreiser (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Sarah Kreiser (Photo by Tony Mastres)

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Facing No. 3 UC Davis in the Big West Tournament Third Place Match on Sunday at LBSU's Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center, the No. 4 UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team came away with a 7-5 win.

The win was the 22nd of the season for the Gauchos, moving them to 22-8 overall. UC Davis ends the year at 18-13 overall.

Senior Sarah Kreiser led the way with her fifth hat trick of the season. Kate Pipkin, Dara Bleiberg, Caitlyn Snyder and Shannon Moran all tallied one goal.

In the third meeting of the year between the two teams, UCD took the initial lead with a goal from Chloe Robinson late in the first quarter.

After being shutout in the opening frame, the Gauchos got going in the second. Pipkin tied things at 1-1 with her goal on a power play in the first minute of the quarter. Kreiser would give UCSB its first lead of the day, scoring off an assist from Pipkin on another power play with 3:39 left in the half.

The two teams began the second half tied at 2-2, but Santa Barbara pulled away in a dominant third quarter. The Gauchos scored three goals, the first coming from Kreiser at the 4:23 mark. Bleiberg doubled the UCSB lead just two minutes later. Caitlyn Snyder capped the period with a goal with 51 seconds left, assisted by her sister junior Sarah Snyder.

The final frame would see the Aggies put up three goals to UCSB's two. Kreiser put away her third of the game at the 7:00 mark. Moran gave the Gauchos their largest lead of the day with 3:24 to go, scoring on a power play to make it 7-3. The Aggies would score in quick succession in the final minutes, but the four-goal lead proved too much to overcome.

Junior goalkeeper Kenzi Snyder finished with 11 saves, reaching double-figures for the third straight tournament game. She ends the year with a career-high 211 saves and a .593 save percentage. She also added a game-high five steals. Sarah Owens tallied three steals of her own.

For the first time this season, Pipkin moves to the top of the UCSB stat chart, with her team-leading 76 points consisting of 45 goals and 31 assists. Sarah Snyder ends the year in second with 74 points and a team-high 66 goals.

Caitlyn Snyder finishes with the third-highest point total of 63 in just her first year with the team, leading the Gauchos with 33 assists. Kreiser was the fourth and final Gaucho to cross the 60-point mark, ending her senior season with 61 points – 35 goals and 26 assists.