LOS ANGELES – The 12th-ranked UC San Diego women’s water polo team finished eighth at the National Collegiate Water Polo Championship after a narrow defeat to No. 8 Indiana, 9-8, at the Uytengsu Aquatics Center Sunday.
The Tritons conclude the season 27-13 overall, which marks a program record for wins in the NCAA era (since 2001). UCSD has now finished seventh (2011), sixth (2013) and eighth (2014) in the three National Collegiate Championship appearances in school history. UCSD is now 2-7 all-time at the NCAA Championship.
Senior Sarah Lizotte led the UCSD offense with three scores on the afternoon and finishes her career with 26 goals at the NCAA Championship in three appearances. She finishes four goals short of the career all-time mark of 30 career goals set by Stanford’s Lauren Silver (06-09) at the tournament.
“We knew we were playing a good team and when we came out a little slow defensively, they made us pay,” said head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. “Indiana did a great job of capitalizing on our mistakes and we just weren’t as sharp as we’d been the first two games. I know fatigue set in a little bit but that goes for both teams and if you want to win at this level, you can’t let that hold you down.”
UCSD fell behind 2-0 before Lizotte capitalized on a penalty to put the Tritons on the scoreboard. After each team exchanged goals, Lizotte tallied the final goal of the period on a man-up advantage to cut Indiana’s lead to 4-3 after the first quarter.
After the Tritons knotted the game at four with a goal from Bartow, assisted by Lizotte, IU responded with two consecutive goals to jump back ahead 6-4 at the intermission.
The Tritons and Hoosiers exchanged goals in the third quarter to make the score 8-6 as the final period approached.
Lizotte and the Tritons went down fighting in the final eight minutes, eventually tying the game at eight with 2:40 left to play. The first goal came on a 6-on-5 advantage as Lizotte found an open Alexis Wieseler, who buried home a shot to cut the lead to one. Lizotte took over a few minutes later and found the equalizer with a shot to knot the game up.
Indiana answered :14 seconds later, however, and earned the lead right back with a power play goal that proved to be the game winner.
UCSD was held shot-less in the final two minutes to fall, 9-8.
Courtney Miller finished with 10 saves in the cage and 27 overall in the tournament, while Wieseler added a pair of goals in the loss. The sophomore entered the day as the NCAA Championship leader in goals and finished the tournament with 10 total.
Lizotte added three assists to her hat trick of goals.
“Sarah (Lizotte) was a standout today but she’s played well the entire tournament,” said Kreutzkamp. “She went out with the style and production we’ve come to expect from her over these last four years. She’s a great player who’s elevated our program—I’m going to miss her.”
UCSD graduates seniors Melissa Bartow, Sarah Lizotte, Leah Gonzales and Allison Delgado. All four were a part of the three National Championship appearances for the program. Bartow leaves as the UCSD all-time leader in ejections drawn, while Lizotte caps her career as the school’s all-time leader in assists and goals scored.