The Santa Barbara City College Women’s Water Polo team won the 2023 WSC Conference Tournament this weekend, hosted by LA Valley College.
In the process, the #1-ranked Vaqueros improved to 31-1 on the season (undefeated against 3C2A opponents) and reached 61 straight conference wins, a streak that dates back to 2015.
The SBCC Women’s Water Polo program has existed for nine years, and the Vaqueros have won the WSC Conference nine times — every year since the program’s inception in 2014.
“I’m super proud of this team and where we’ll go,” head coach Chuckie Roth, at the helm for all nine seasons, said. “We’ve worked incredibly hard and they are great women.”
The Vaqueros first played on Friday against Cuesta in what was the WSC Semifinal. Six different goalscorers with five different assisters scored seven first-half goals for SBCC, who led 7-1 at halftime.
It was more of the same for the Vaqueros in the second half, taking a 12-1 lead before allowing two late goals, eventually triumphing 12-3.
Caroline Oates led SBCC goalscorers, netting three, while Claire Daland, Cate Daland and Lily Carrick each scored twice. Claire also dished three assists.
Natalie Mancinelli, Claire Daland and Carrick all had four steals, with Kate Densmore right behind them with three.
Saturday, the Vaqueros played Ventura in the WSC Conference Championship. A rematch of the first home match of the season at Santa Barbara High, the Vaqueros won the first meeting 15-7.
The Vaqueros took a 6-0 lead midway through the second period thanks to four goals from the Daland sisters — three from Claire, one from Cate — and a goal each from Oates and Gabrielle Muehring.
Esther Sullivan added a goal with 10 seconds left in the half, and the Vaqueros found themselves up 7-2 at the break.
Cate Daland tied her sister with two more goals out of halftime. Then, Mancinelli scored three goals in just over two minutes, with a goal from Gabi Turnbull in between. The score was 13-4 going into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, Addie Lane got in on the scoring, netting her 56th and 57th goals of the season. Sullivan added her second of the day, and it was celebration time for the Vaqueros, winning with a final score of 16-6.
“There were several different playmakers in the game,” Roth said. “But we played as a cohesive unit with multiple goalscorers. Our defense was smothering; I think we stole the ball in the first five possessions of the game.”
Claire Daland led all Vaqueros with four steals, with Carrick and Oates swiping 3. Maddie Myers and Densmore also had two.
Carrick reached 57 assists on the season with three in the Final, and Muehring added two.
To recap the goalscorers: Mancinelli, Claire Daland and Cate Daland scored three; Sullivan and Lane scored two; Muehring, Oates and Turnbull scored one.
Densmore saved more shots than not, with eight saves in game one and seven in game two.
Anyone who has watched the Vaqueros play has seen that the chemistry, camaraderie, and positivity of this group have played a huge role in their success so far.
Rightfully so, that, plus an incredibly talented group of players and coaches, has allowed SBCC to become such a juggernaut.
Props to head coach Chuckie Roth, assistant coach Paige Treloar-Ballard, volunteer assistant Pete Snyder, and of course, the players for SBCC’s ninth straight conference championship.
The Vaqueros now look ahead to Southern California Regionals next weekend at Citrus College in what will hopefully be the last step before 3C2A State Championships the following weekend.