SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The 14th-ranked UC San Diego women’s water polo team defeated No. 17 UC Santa Barbara, 11-7, and CSU Bakersfield, 14-8, to complete a weekend sweep at the UCSB Winter Invite Sunday. Alexis Wieseler and Leah Gonzales led the Tritons with four goals apiece on the day, while Courtney Miller recorded 14 saves in the cage.
“We’re talented, deep, a little older and are playing confident," said head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "Because we have everyone back from last year, we’ve had time to work on more advanced stuff than we have in previous seasons and I think we’re probably just ahead of a lot of teams right now."
In game one, UCSD scored five times in the final period to put away the Gauchos and earn its third straight victory. Sarah Lizotte led the charge with a hat-trick of goals, while Miller recorded eight saves in the cage in the win for the Tritons.
UCSD scored three times in the opening period to jump out to a quick lead, 3-2. UCSD followed with a strong defensive frame in the second to blank UCSB and tallied two scores on the offensive end to garner a 5-2 advantage at the intermission.
The Gauchos managed to outscore the Tritons in the third to pull within two, 6-4, as the final quarter approached. Just as the night before in the win against Arizona State, UCSD entered the fourth offensive-minded and found the back of the cage five times to put away the game and win 11-7.
Gonzalez and Laurel Kistler each scored a pair of goals for the Tritons, while Allison Delgado, Julia Kirkland and Jolene Guiliana rounded out the scoring with a tally each. Guiliana added a team-high three assists to her line, while Weiseler amassed a team-high three steals and one assist for the Tritons.
UCSB was led by two scores from Taylor Shore and six saves in the cage from Mackenzie Brokaw.
In the final match of the UCSB Winter Invite, the Tritons used a seven-goal second quarter to beat CSU Bakersfield and improve their record to 4-0 to start the season.
The Tritons came out of the gate firing to score four goals in the opening quarter to lead 4-2 at the end of one. UCSD followed with the offensive explosion in the second quarter to take control of the match and lead 11-5 at halftime.
CSU Bakersfield tallied three scores in the third to cut the deficit to five as the quarter ended, but UCSD responded with a strong defensive effort in the final frame to shutout the Roadrunners and win 11-7.
Wieseler scored a team-high four goals for the Tritons, while Melissa Bartow, Kirkland and Gonzales tallied a pair of scores each in the win. Andie Nishimi, Delgado and Guiliana rounded out the scoring for UCSD with a goal apiece.
The Roadrunners were led by two goals apiece from Bridgette Souza and Kristen Jensen in the loss.
“We’re playing really well offensively, pretty polished, but we’ve still got a lot to work on, particularly on the defensive end," noted Kreutzkamp about the early season sucess. "Our players are feeling good but not too good. We want to be playing our best at the end of the year, not the beginning. They know this was a positive start but there’s a long way to go and I think they have the right mindset.”
UCSD will host the Triton Invitational at Canyonview Aquatic Center on Feb. 8-9. The schedule is slated to be released next week.
Box Game One
UCSD 3 2 1 5 - 11
UCSB 2 0 2 3 - 7
UCSD: Sarah Lizotte 3, Leah Gonzales 2, Laurel Kistler 2, Julia Kirkland 1 Allison Delgado 1, Jolene Guiliana 1, Rachel Brooks 1
UCSB: Taylor Shore 2, Brenna Thomas 1, Lauren Martin 1, Bryn Hudson 1, Sophie Trabucco 1, Justine Ramos 1
UCSD: Courtney Miller 8
UCSB: Mackenzie Brokaw 6
Box Game Two
UCSD 4 7 2 1 - 14
CSUB 2 3 3 0 - 8
UCSD: Alexis Wieseler 4, Melissa Bartow 2, Julia Kirkland 2, Leah Gonzales 2, Andie Nishimi 1, Allison Delgado 1, Jolene Guiliana 1, Laurel Kistler 1
CSUB: Bridgette Souza 2, Kristen Jensen 2, Janelle Shelby 1, Niki De Leon 1, Tancy Aldridge 1, Chloe Cassatt 1
UCSD: Courtney Miller 6