IRVINE – The UC Santa Barbara women’s water polo team battled with top-ranked Stanford and No. 5 Arizona State before falling to both opponents on the second day of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational on Saturday afternoon at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.
No. 1 Stanford 11, No. 9 UCSB 8
The Gauchos nearly pulled off the upset over the top-ranked team in the country, but a five-goal fourth quarter powered the Cardinal into the next round.
The lone goal in the first quarter came from Stanford’s Chloe Harbilas at the 3:07 mark, and Kayla Constandse doubled the Cardinal’s lead inside of the first three minutes of the second quarter.
Alex Mora fed Sarah Snyder for the Gauchos’ first goal of the game a few short minutes later, but Sarah Klass got Stanford back ahead by two with just over two minutes left.
UCSB tied the score in the final minutes of the first half thanks to goals from Mollie Simmons and Courtney Heydorff. But Harbilas found a second goal to give Stanford the 4-3 lead at the break.
The Gaucho offense put together an impressive showing to open the third, scoring three unanswered goals through a pair of Drew Halvorson strikes on either side of an Amanda Legaspi goal.
Harbilas scored a fifth for Stanford, to which Legaspi responded with a power play goal to get the Gauchos back ahead 7-5.
At that point, the NCAA’s top team and defending national champions flexed their muscle, going on to score six in a row, five of which came in the fourth quarter, and pick up the victory over the Gauchos.
No. 5 Arizona State 6, No. 9 UCSB 3
Arizona State held the lead from the onset as it dealt UCSB its seventh defeat of the season, sending the Gauchos into Sunday morning’s seventh place match.
Defense was the name of the game once again in the first quarter, as Arizona State scored the only goal of the opening period via Borbala Kekesi.
Eszter Kiss and Meghan Beaudet combined on the next two Sun Devil goals to give them a 3-1 lead.
Legaspi got UCSB on the board right before halftime, with the sophomore scoring with just 12 seconds left before the intermission.
Sarah Snyder pulled UCSB within one off a Simmons assist with 6:08 remaining in the third quarter, but Blaire McDowell got the Sun Devils back up by two less than half a minute later, and Beaudet added another with under a minute left in the quarter.
Mollie Simmons pulled one back for UCSB with 6:26 remaining in the fourth quarter to make it 5-3 to ASU, but Kekesi once again restored the three-goal lead with what would end up being the final score of the game.
The Gauchos play the loser of the USC-Michigan match for seventh place.