LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 18 UC San Diego women's water polo played from behind all game as the Tritons fell 11-8 to No. 19 Cal Baptist on Friday evening in non-conference play at Canyonview Pool.
Down 3-0 midway through the first quarter, UCSD edged within 5-4 by halftime, but the Tritons' slow third quarter allowed CBU to pull away to win its 14th game in its last 15 contests.
UCSD, which had been riding a four-game win steak heading into Friday, drops to 15-12 overall on the season. The Lancers are 18-8.
"We were chasing those three goals the whole game. We played them pretty much even the rest of the way," said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "As far a setback is concerned, [the loss] is going to put us back in the national rankings a bit, but sometimes you can learn from losses as much as wins."
Katherine Biehle got the Tritons on the board with 39 seconds left in the opening quarter and Jessica Tran pulled them within a goal at the 3:53 mark of the second frame. The Lancers responded with a goal on a 6-on-5 before Tran drew a penalty as she was dragged down by Raine Paul inside the goal mouth.
After Lizotte converted the free shot, CBU's Petra Kovacs snuck in a penalty shot of her own to make it 5-3. Off the restart, Lizotte caught CBU keeper Camryn Rogers off-guard with a quick shot inside the right post from near half tank to make it 5-4.
CBU started second half in nearly identical fashion as the first, scoring three in a row to gain its biggest lead of the game, 8-4, with 4:23 remaining. Lizotte nailed her second penalty 13 seconds later and Biehle scored on a break away before the teams traded goals to leave the Tritons down 9-7 at the end of the third.
"The third quarter has been our worst quarter all season long, maybe I'm not giving very good halftime speeches, I don't know. We came out in the third and didn't press them. We needed to win that quarter and we didn't," said Kreutzkamp.
Lizotte scored her fourth goal of the game to make it 10-8 with 4:22 remaining, but UCSD could not get another past Rogers despite numerous opportunities. Lizotte hit the crossbar from three meters before Melissa Bartow won a physical battle in front of the cage only to have her one-on-one shot blocked by Rogers with 2:20 left. After a defensive stop by the Tritons, Bartow once again got free in front of net, but her rocket careened off the cross bar and out with 1:50 remaining.
CBU ran out the clock as Kovacs sealed it with a floater over Allie Taylor with :05 on the clock.
Lizotte and Kovacs registered game-highs with four scores apiece. Biehle scored twice while Kirsten Bates and Tran added goals. Rogers had 12 saves and Taylor recorded seven stops.
The Tritons travel to The Bronco next weekend at Santa Clara University. UCSD will play a slate of four Western Water Polo Association contests at the tournament.