SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
The No. 18 UC San Diego women's water polo team split in its pair of matches on the final day of the UCSB Winter Invite, defeating WWPA conference-foe Sonoma State, 14-10, before falling to host No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, 8-7.
Hanalei Crowell scored a team-high six goals for UCSD (2-2) on the day, with Felicia Orozco and Kirsten Bates following with five scores apiece. Goalkeeper Kristin Ostosh stopped 11 shots.
Crowell scored four of her goals to pace the Tritons in their opening win against Sonoma State. UCSD forced a 12-6 halftime lead against the Seawolves, giving head coach Brad Kreutzkamp an opportunity to utilize his younger players in the second half. Freshmen Melissa Bartow and Leah Gonzales got into the scoring act for the Tritons; Bartow also added three assists, tying her for the team-high along with Crowell.
"It was nice that we got up by four after the first quarter against Sonoma," said Kreutzkamp. "I think we were clearly the better team in the pool and I would have liked to see us finish the game a little stronger."
UCSD has now defeated SSU (1-7) four consecutive times dating back to January 2010.
In the afternoon session, UCSB (3-3) scored two quick goals, but Bates and Jessica Tran responded with goals of their own to help UCSD pull even at 2-2. UCSB would score another goal prior to the end of the quarter, but the Tritons would be the lone team to score the rest of the half as Crowell converted a five-meter penalty shot to tie the game at three-all.
The Gauchos would account for three of the next four scores of the game, as UCSD found itself down 8-5 before heading into the final stanza.
The Tritons edged to within two goals early in the fourth after Crowell netted her second goal of the game. Then, with just 21 seconds remaining, Orozco cut the UCSB lead to a single score. With the Gauchos only needing to hold onto the ball to secure the win, the Tritons were able to steal the ball and call time-out with nine seconds to go.
However, the UCSB defense was able to thwart UCSD's last minute play and hold on for the 8-7 victory.
"I'm actually more pleased with our one-goal loss to UCSB than I am with our win (against Sonoma)," said Kreutzkamp. "Our team showed a lot of fight against a quality D-I team after falling behind by a couple scores. I think we did a lot of positive things against UCSB and the fact that we had a chance to force it into overtime on the last play just shows that we were right there with them."
UCSD will host its 2011 home opener against Long Beach State on Friday, February 4 at 6:00 p.m. in Canyonview Pool.
For the entire recap of this weekend's UCSB Winter Invite, click here.