Host Tritons Go 2-0 on Last Day

    The UCSD women’s water polo team split its first two games at the annual Triton Invitational on Feb. 11, defeating Pomona-Pitzer in the first bout with a score of 10-5, but falling just short against No. 9 Cal State Long Beach later that day, 10-8.

    The No. 17 Tritons hit the water full force against Pomona-Pitzer, leading 1-0 at the end of the first quarter after a quick goal by junior Michelle Perkins. The Sagehens tied the game at 1-1 in the second, but two clutch goals by junior Sarah Bajorek, both within the four-minute mark, gave UCSD the lead at intermission.

    After the break, both teams scored twice, bringing the tally to 5-3 in favor of the Tritons. Sophomore Nicole Hermann netted one goal and last week’s UCSD Athlete of the Week, sophomore Judy Emaus, banked the other one in.

    In the fourth quarter, the Tritons hit their stride, netting a whopping five goals. Bajorek, the third-leading scorer in 2005, scored twice more, bringing her total to four on the day. Hermann, Emaus and Perkins also each found the goal again, increasing the lead over Pitzer before the buzzer rang to signify the 10-5 Triton win.

    In the second game of the day, the Tritons found themselves pitted against No. 9 Cal State Long Beach. UCSD started off slowly and fell behind in the contest, trailing Cal State Long Beach 2-0 after the first quarter. Responding to the challenge by picking up the pace, the Triton women rallied back in the second quarter, scoring four foals against the Long Beach defense. At the half, the score was tied up at four apiece.

    In the third quarter, junior Natalie Hockett regained the lead for the Tritons, scoring with six minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the period.

    Unfortunately, the Tritons were unable to retain the lead for long. UCSD allowed three goals to close out the third and one more early in the fourth, leaving the Tritons trailing 8-5. But the Tritons fought back, scoring three more goals before the clock ran out. However, UCSD could not pull within one possession, and the 49ers won the heartbreaker, 10-8.

    The Tritons are now 3-4 overall as they forge ahead into a promising season. Head coach Larry Sanders returns 14 letter-winners to the Tritons from a team that went 18-17 in 2005 and earned a third-place finish at the women’s Western Water Polo Association Tournament.

    This season, the Tritons will play against the toughest teams in the country, including nontournament matches versus the top three teams in the preseason top-20: No. 1 UCLA, No. 2 University of Southern California and No. 3 Stanford. UCSD will also host the WWPA Tournament from May 12 through May 14, with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. 

    The Tritons returned to tournament play at Canyonview Pool on Feb. 12 on the final day of competition in the 14-team Triton Invitational. In their last two matches, the Tritons topped No. 13 Indiana University in the morning and added another upset over No. 12 UC Irvine in the afternoon. Details of the games were unavailable at press time. Following the tournament, UCSD will travel to Bakersfield on Feb. 18 for the Cal State Bakersfield Tournament.

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