Tritons play in Rainbow Challenge

    While the rest of UCSD students spent their spring break at home or in Mexico, the women’s water polo team traveled to Honolulu for a little fun in the sun and to compete in the Rainbow Challenge, hosted by the University of Hawaii on March 28 and March 29. The Triton ladies returned with the obligatory Hawaiian tan and victories over Cal Baptist, UC Santa Cruz and Canada’s national team in the competition, while falling short in losses to Long Beach State, Hawaii and Australia’s national team.

    But before the Tritons could even take their finals, they played host to Indiana, UCLA and Princeton at Canyonview Pool on March 14 and March 15.

    In the March 14 contest against Indiana, UCSD came out as electric as lightning; striking the Hoosiers with the game’s first six goals, en route to a 9-4 victory. The Tritons played fiery ball on both sides of the pool; scooping up great passes and slipping defenders on one side, while attacking loose balls and forcing bad shots on the other.

    “”We have had our trouble, but today we came out focused and played some of the best ball of the season,”” said co-captain Dana Tucker.

    The Tritons, however, needed the momentum of the victory to defeat top-ranked UCLA on March 15. UCSD played valiantly during the game, but could only manage a lone goal from Tucker, as the Tritons suffered an 11-1 defeat, their worst of the season.

    Later under rainy skies, the UCSD-Princeton battle was decided in the third overtime by a shot into the top corner of the Triton cage that gave the Tigers a stunning 6-5 victory. In an exciting fourth quarter, the Tritons took a 5-4 lead with less than a minute to play, only to allow the Tiger equalizer on the last possession.

    The Tritons had a slippery start to their tournament on March 28 against Cal Baptist, falling behind 5-2 before coming back to claim victory over the Lancers, 7-6. Meris Bantilan-Smith provided the Tritons with four goals, including the game-winner late in the third quarter. UCSD survived a last-minute scare from the Lancers before the buzzer went off to seal the deal.

    Against Long Beach State, the Tritons outplayed the 49ers during quarters one, two and four; but the four goals given up by UCSD in the third proved to be decisive in the 8-6 loss. The Tritons remained a goal behind in the fourth, but could not find the equalizer before LBSU put the game away with 32 seconds left. Tucker led the UCSD scoring drive with two goals.

    Before the day was up, the Tritons would have to play catch-up again; this time falling behind to Hawaii 5-1 at halftime and finishing with a heartbreaking 8-6 loss. Despite coming up with three goals to cut the Rainbow Wahine lead to one, the Tritons had deja vu when they were again unable to come up with the tying goal before the game was sealed by a late Hawaii goal.

    UCSD’s high-octane game sprung back to life for the March 29 match against Santa Cruz. After the Banana Slugs took their only lead of the season against the Tritons early in the second period, UCSD put up eight unanswered goals to take a big victory over UCSC, 10-2.

    The Tritons finished out the tournament with two games against Canada and Australia; neither count ingtoward UCSD’s record, but providing good competition. UCSD came back from two goals down and held on until the final possession to defeat Canada 9-8. Against Australia, however, the Tritons failed to recover from four Aussie goals in the second period, and dropped a 7-4 decision.

    With big games against UC Davis and CSU Bakersfield on April 5, the Tritons hope to patch up some of the leaky quarters that have been plaguing some of their games.

    “”These [conference] games are important,”” said UCSD head coach Larry Sanders. “”It’s time to fine-tune our game and play up to the level we need to be at.””

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal