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Monday, March 18 , 2019, 7:56 am | Fair 51º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

UCSB Advances to Big West Water Polo Semifinals

Samantha Murphy recorded a hat trick and third-seeded UC Santa Barbara limited sixth-seeded Cal State Northridge to one goal in the second half en route to an 8-4 win in a quarterfinal match at the Big West Conference Tournament on Friday at Campus Pool.

UCSB will play UC Irvine in a tournament semifinal match on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Campus Pool. The first match of the day will feature top-seeded Long Beach State and No. 4 seeded Hawai'i and will begin at noon.

The ninth-ranked Gauchos (17-12) wasted no time jumping out of the gate as they took a 2-0 lead just 1:09 into the match. Bryn Hudson scored at the 7:15 mark of the first quarter with a lob into the left side of the cage that just eluded CSUN goalkeeper Niki Van Vugt's attempt at a save. Murphy made it 2-0 just 24 seconds left when she took a feed from Hudson and scored on the left side.

The Matadors (11-20) halved the lead at the 5:16 mark when Katelyn Fairchild drilled a shot past Mackenzie Brokaw from straight away, but with 30 second left in the quarter, Sophie Trabucco made it 3-1 when she received a feed from Taylor Shore and scored on the left side.

The teams traded goals in the second quarter. Fairchild scored her second goal of the match for CSUN making it 3-2. Brenna Thomas answered for UCSB, giving her team a 4-2 edge. Lindsey Garcia made it a 4-3 match with 2:55 to play when she scored from right in front of the cage. Trabucco completed the scoring in the first half, converting a skip-shot on a counter.

"All five of our goals in the first half were on counters," said Santa Barbara head coach Serela Kay. "We'd really been waiting for this game and we were really ready to play."

The Gauchos dominated the second half, limiting the Matadors to one goal, a penalty shot by Madeleine Sanchez with 21 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Murphy, meanwhile, scored her second goal of the match in to begin the scoring in the third quarter and then she completed the scoring with her third goal with 5:09 to play in the fourth. Sandwiched between Murphy's second half goals was a nice backhand shot by freshman Sarah Kreiser near the end of the third quarter.

"She's a force," Kay said of Murphy. "She has won about 98-percent of her sprints this year and probably could have scored more goals in the second half today but we really changed our focus to defense and didn't counter as much. I thought it was a solid defensive effort by us, especially in the second half."

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