It was somewhat appropriate that the No. 16 UCSB women’s water polo team outscored Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent Pacific 16-6 on Sunday at the Recreation Center Pool because those 16 goals matched the number of consecutive losses the Gauchos had posted prior to that contest. The win was perfect timing for the Gauchos, who were not only celebrating Senior Day, but Alumni Day as well.
With the win, UCSB improves to 5-16 overall and 1-10 in MPSF play while Pacific drops to 4-24 and 0-12 in conference.
Sophomore Christie Clark opened the game with a six-on-five goal less than two minutes into the first quarter. She then pushed the Gauchos lead to 2-0 when she scored from the perimeter with 4:05 on the clock.
During the next possession, Pacific’s Virginia McConnell used a UCSB ejection to get the Tigers on the board, but UCSB regained the two-point lead when junior Amanda Tipton found the back of Pacific’s net with just over three minutes to play in the quarter.
Leading 3-1 at the beginning of the second quarter, Clark posted her third goal of the game within the first possession and just over a minute later, sophomore Lizzie Rouleau scored out of center after turning her defender and lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper’s head to extend the UCSB lead to 5-1.
Pacific’s Kellie Fletcher and Dara Tawarahara each posted six-on-five goals in the second quarter, but goals from Taylor Byrne, Kellsie Arolla and Breanna Duplisea put the Gauchos up 8-3 heading into halftime.
UCSB earned three Tigers ejections in the first two and a half minutes of the third quarter, but the third time proved to be the charm as junior Gillian Morgan scored on a bar-in shot during the player-up situation stretching the Gauchos lead to 9-3.
Tawarahara responded for the Tigers with her second goal during the next possession, but it was all UCSB in the last five minutes of the quarter as Tipton notched her second goal and Clark earned her fourth on a tee-shot to push the Gauchos to an 11-4 lead.
In the final quarter, the Gauchos outscored Pacific, 5-2, behind goals from Kristin Kulakowski, Clark, Morgan, Jillian Waldron and Marilee Silveria to take the 16-6 victory.
Ten different Gauchos contributed to UCSB’s offensive effort Sunday and Clark led the team with her career-best five goals. Senior Jenny Gonzales led the team defensively in the first half with six saves and Kate Murphy finished the game in the red cap with four blocks.
UCSB will finish MPSF regular season action at 10 a.m. Saturday at Cal State Northridge. The Gauchos will jump out of the pool and follow that contest with a 1 p.m. pairing against nonconference opponent Cal State San Bernardino.
Lisa Skvarla is UCSB’s assistant media relations director.