No. 17 Tritons See Mixed Results as Hosts of Triton Invitational

    WOMEN’S WATER POLO — After a long weekend featuring five games and hosting opponents from all across the country, the 17th-ranked UCSD women’s water polo team completed its tournament by taking 10th-place overall at the Triton Invitational. The weekend started off with a close win against Cal State East Bay Friday night, and lasted until late Sunday afternoon with a loss to No. 12 UC Santa Barbara, with the Tritons going 2-2 in tournament play.

    “It wasn’t too bad of a weekend,” head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said. “But we can definitely strive to do better. We’re still looking for a big signature win for this program, but as far as the rankings are concerned, we beat the teams we were supposed to and lost to the teams we were supposed to.”

    On Saturday, the Tritons started the Triton Invitational by losing against Hartwick for the second consecutive year, but defeated conference opponent Santa Clara in their second game.

    Against Hartwick, the Tritons fell into dire straits early and couldn’t muster the strength to recover. The Tritons fought to keep the score within three at the half, but Hartwick came out strong in the third quarter and outscored the Tritons 5-1. The teams would exchange goals in the final quarter, but it was not enough energy to get the Tritons back into the game, and they fell to the Hawks 11-4

    “I was definitely disappointed with our play in that game,” Kreutzkamp said. “I felt that we played very flat and not up to the best of our potential. And when the game was over we let them know how bad it feels to lose a game like that, and we can’t let that happen to us again.”

    Against Santa Clara, senior attacker Hanalei Crowell scored two goals in the first quarter to help give UCSD a 3-1 lead. The Tritons kept the two-goal advantage through the half with strong offense, leading 6-4 at the break. Both teams showed a lot of offense through the second half, as they both scored five goals in the third quarter. The Broncos cut the lead down to one after scoring three unanswered goals in the last four minutes, and had possession with just over 30 seconds to play. But a steal by the Tritons and a quick goal by junior hole set Kirstin Bates sealed the victory for the Tritons, 12-10.

    On Sunday, the Tritons took on Maryland — a team they will not face again this season. The Terrapins scored first in the game, but the Tritons were relentless on offense, as Crowell scored three goals in the first half and Bates added another two as the Tritons jumped to a 7-3 halftime lead.

    The Terrapins lost all hope of staging a comeback in the second half, when junior utility Natalie Peng added two goals of her own and the Triton defense blocked most of the Terrapin shots. The Tritons finished with a solid 9-5 victory.

    In the final game of the tournament, the Tritons faced UC Santa Barbara, who defeated UCSD by one goal in the final game of the Winter Invitational at UCSB on Jan. 30. With the game tied at one halfway through the opening quarter, the Gauchos slashed the Triton defense and scored five unanswered points to take a 6-1 lead. But the Tritons did manage to reduce deficit a little, and thanks to goals by Crowell and freshman utility and Santa Barbara native Leah Gonzales, the Tritons pulled within 6-3 at the break. Freshman hole set Melissa Bartow tallied two goals in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome the Gauchos, as UCSB came out with a 12-7 victory and ended the tournament on a low note for the Tritons.

    “We really thought we had a chance at taking that one here at our pool, especially after only losing by one at their pool,” Kreutzkamp said. “They came out and put away all their shots early, burying us 5-1 in the first quarter; it was just too big of a hole for us to dig out.”

    The Tritons play rival Loyola Marymount this Friday at Canyon View Pool at 6 p.m., looking for revenge from last year’s WWPA conference championship game that the Lions won 13-10.

    “We’re trying to stay upbeat and up tempo,” Kreutzkamp said. “Because LMU plays very fast, quick and aggressive. We’ll be on our heels pretty quick. So we’re going to practice quick and upbeat this week.”

    Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected]


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