The Tritons lost three of four at the UC Davis Invite while Courtney Miller shattered UCSD’s all-time saves record.
Entering the UC Davis Invitational as the No. 11 nationally ranked team, the UCSD women’s water polo team struggled over the weekend, defeated in three of four matches and falling to a losing 6–7 season record. Though the Tritons began the invite with a 15–8 win over Azusa Pacific University, they then conceded to No. 16 UC Davis, No. 4 UC Berkeley and No. 20 University of the Pacific the rest of the way.
“We certainly don’t like losing three out of four,” UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said. “However, Davis and [Pacific] were certainly under-ranked in the country. They’re very good teams. We have some key injuries right now that are really challenging us as far as scoring goals [is] concerned.”
The Tritons were without their top scorer, junior 2MD Alexis Wieseler, who suffered a broken thumb against Cal State Long Beach a week earlier. According to Kreutzkamp, Wieseler will be out for two months.
In spite of the poor outcomes, junior goalkeeper Courtney Miller broke UCSD’s all-time saves record during Saturday’s loss against UC Berkeley. She surpassed Jefi Paulsen’s (1987–90) mark of 852 to claim the top spot with a current tally of 876 saves.
“She holds herself to a standard that’s well above what she has to,” Kreutzkamp told the UCSD Guardian. “There’s just an intangible [aspect] about her athleticism that allows her to save us in so many games. I’m privileged to coach her and couldn’t think of a better athlete to break the record.”
Senior attacker Jolene Guiliana propelled the Tritons to victory on Friday night, netting six goals in UCSD’s lone win throughout the tournament.
The Tritons jumped out to a quick start, building up a 4–0 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The gap would only widen in the second as UCSD tallied another five scores while Miller allowed only one goal, bringing the one-sided score to 9–1 entering intermission.
Azusa Pacific leveled the competition in the second half, outscoring UCSD 7–6 through the final two periods. However, the Tritons’ first-half advantage was too large to overcome as the 15–8 victory went to the big blue.
Junior center Lauren Finwall, junior attacker Laurel Kistler and senior attacker Andie Nishimi all finished with a pair of goals on top of Guiliana’s six.
Despite the dominant start, the Tritons would find no further success throughout the other games.
In their first matchup against UC Davis, both squads kept within each other’s reach in the opening two quarters as UCSD trailed the Aggies 6–5 at the half. However, a poor third quarter doomed the Tritons, who allowed three goals while only managing one of their own. Both teams netted one apiece in the final frame, giving Davis a 10–7 win.
Guiliana led again with three goals, and sophomore center Lauren Boyer scored two.
Later in the day, UCSD faced a daunting opponent in No. 4 UC Berkeley, who gave the Tritons little room to breathe in a lopsided contest. UC Berkeley tallied seven goals in the first half and allowed only two goals from Kistler. Little changed in the second half as the Golden Bears cruised to a 12–5 win.
Kistler finished with a hat trick while sophomore attacker Connie Wu and Boyer scored one each. Miller made a valiant effort with a whopping 19 saves in her record-shattering performance.
On Sunday, UCSD took its third straight loss, falling to No. 20 University of the Pacific in a disappointing 8–5 tilt.
The Tritons would take a solid 5–3 lead into the half, only to be shut out in the entirety of the remaining two quarters. University of the Pacific reclaimed an advantage with four goals in the third period while blanking UCSD. In the final frame, the Tigers tacked onto their lead with one more goal, while the Tritons simply could not find any offensive rhythm as they closed their invite out on a bitter note.
With the losing record, UCSD will now aim to get back on track this coming weekend as the team travels next to the UC Irvine Invitational. Two games are slated for both Saturday and Sunday against opponents that are yet to be determined.
“We have to try to generate more goals,” Kreutzkamp said. “We’re not going to try to do anything with our defense because that’s actually been our biggest strength. We have to find out how to create more goals now that we have the big injury going on. We need to draw more ejections.”