No. 15 Cal State Northridge parlayed a balanced scoring attack, led by Renee Gargiulo’s three goals, to cruise past 16th-ranked UCSB, 12-5, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation women’s water polo match on Saturday morning in Northridge. Hours later, the Gauchos also dropped a heartbreaking 13-12 nonconference match to Cal State San Bernardino.

In the first match, the Matadors got on the board first on a goal by Gargiulo at 4:20 of the first quarter. After UCSB’s Claire Buchanan knotted things at 1-1 with 3:12 to play in the opening frame, Northridge scored two straight to take a 3-1 lead at the end of one.

The teams each notched three goals in the second period. UCSB got scores from Katie Kepner, Kathryn Nelson and Lizzie Rouleau. The latter’s goal came with 2:07 left in the first half and it pulled the Gauchos to within one, 5-4. Gargiulo’s second goal of the contest, with just 20 seconds to play, gave the Matadors a 6-4 lead at the break.

The second half was all Northridge as the Matadors outscored UCSB, 6-1, including 4-0 in the fourth period. Christie Clark tallied the Gauchos’ final goal of the match with 5:28 to play in the third quarter. They were blanked the rest of the way.

Jenny Gonzales had nine saves for UCSB, while the Matadors Jillian Stapf collected 14.

In the nonconference afternoon match, the Gauchos jumped out to a 4-2 lead after one quarter, but could not hold on as Cal State San Bernardino’s Ashley Hays scored with 1:52 left in overtime to give her team a 13-12 lead. The Coyotes held on over the final 1:52 to win by the same score.

Clark scored with 5:42 left in regulation to give UCSB a 12-10 lead, but the Gauchos didn’t score again. San Bernardino narrowed the gap to 12-11 on a goal by Freyja Berg with 2:43 to play. Berg then capped her team’s rally by scoring the game-tying goal with just eight seconds to play in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for the Coyotes to win it in overtime. She finished with seven goals in the contest.

UCSB was led by Rouleau, who scored four goals, one in each of the four regulation quarters. Gonzales started in goal for the Gauchos and had four saves in the first half. Freshman Kate Murphy played the second half and overtime, finishing with five saves.

The two losses dropped the Gauchos to 5-18 overall. The loss to Northridge moved their league record to 1-11.

UCSB will return to action Thursday when it opens play in the MPSF Tournament at San Diego State.

Bill Mahoney is UCSB‘s assistant athletics director.