Tritons Have Tough Time at Irvine Tourney

    Junior attacker Sydney Gstettenbauer had a great weekend at the UC Irvine tournament and currently leads the No. 16 Tritons in both goals (38) and assists (22) and is second on the team in steals with 17. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian File)

    Women’s Water Polo — The No. 16 UCSD women’s water polo team
    ended a tough UC Irvine tournament last weekend on a high note, winning its
    last game after losing the first three contests of the tournament against
    ranked opponents. The Tritons suffered losses to No. 2 Stanford University and
    No. 10 UC Irvine on Feb. 23 before splitting their games the following day.
    UCSD lost in overtime to No. 15 University of Michigan before finishing the
    tournament with a victory over No. 13 UC Santa Barbara.

    After suffering three losses, the Tritons’ lone victory in
    the tournament did not come easily. The Tritons were able to overcome late
    goals from the Gauchos to win the game by a close score of 8-7.

    UCSD started out the game strong, outscoring the Gauchos 4-2
    in the first half. The Gauchos showed more life in the third quarter, scoring
    two goals to match UCSD’s two scores in the quarter. With the Tritons leading
    6-4, UCSB scored a quick goal at the start of the fourth quarter to cut the
    Tritons’ lead to one.

    The Tritons answered the Gauchos’ threat with their own two
    goals to give UCSD a seemingly safe lead of 8-5 with 3:41 left in regulation. The Gauchos weren’t content with
    exiting quietly as they scored two more goals to pull within one. However,
    UCSB’s late goals would prove to be too little too late as the Tritons held off
    the Gauchos to earn the 8-7 victory.

    Sophomore attacker Audra Bloom led the scoring for the
    Tritons in the game with three goals and senior goalkeeper Kim Hockett had 10
    saves for the Tritons.

    “We were able to hold [the Gauchos] off because we were
    rotating players in and out and were able to take breaks while they were
    getting tired,” sophomore two-meter defender Stephanie Bocian said. “Also, we
    were ready to play and we executed on defense and on offense.”

    The tournament’s opening game pitted the Tritons against the
    No. 2 team in the nation. UCSD faced a tough Stanford team, scoring only three
    goals. The Tritons suffered a 10-3 loss to the Cardinal before facing another
    top-10 opponent in UC Irvine.

    The No. 16 UCSD women’s water polo team can look forward to the physical play of Cal State Bakersfield when the Tritons host the Roadrunners on Mar. 1. (Erik Jepsen/Guardian File)

    Defense played a major role in the first quarter of the
    Tritons’ game against UC Irvine as the first eight-minute period ended with the
    game still scoreless. The Tritons scored first in the match with a goal from
    junior attacker Sydney Gstettenbauer with 3:39
    left in the second quarter. The Anteaters answered back to tie the game at 1-1
    and two more Anteater goals gave UC Irvine a 3-1 lead entering halftime.

    With 6:54 left in
    the third quarter, Bloom scored a goal to cut UC Irvine’s lead to 3-2. The Anteaters
    came back with three unanswered goals, handing the Tritons a 6-2 loss.

    UCSD’s third game of the tournament against No. 15
    University of Michigan ended in an overtime defeat for the Tritons, as they
    fell to Michigan 11-10.

    The high-scoring match started with Michigan
    taking a 4-3 lead after the first quarter. The Tritons finally caught up by
    outscoring Michigan in the third
    quarter. Both teams scored two goals in the fourth period to send the game into
    overtime.

    Michigan and
    UCSD each scored two goals in the first overtime period, giving each team a
    clean slate heading into the final overtime period. Both teams remained quiet
    offensively until Michigan netted
    the winning goal with 51 seconds left in the period. The Tritons were unable to
    come up with a score, leading to their third defeat of the tournament.
    Gstettenbauer scored four goals for the Tritons in the loss.

    Even though they lost three out of four games in the
    tournament, the Tritons still did better than expected against high-ranked
    opponents.

    “We improved on how we played those teams in the past,”
    Hockett said. “All the teams we played are ranked above us, so we were expected
    to lose. I’m not too disappointed with how we played.”

    The Tritons will return home to face Cal State Bakersfield
    and Pomona-Pitzer on March 1. UCSD hopes to use those games to improve on its
    current 4-10 record.

    “If we play our game then we should have no problem winning
    those games,” Hockett said. “Bakersfield
    is known to be a scrappy and dirty team so if we stay composed and not play at
    their level, we should be fine.”

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