Women’s Water Polo Goes 1-3 Against Division-I Competition

    UCSD women’s water polo took eighth place among 16 teams competing in the Triton Invitational last weekend, Feb. 9 and 10. The No. 19 nationally ranked Tritons played four matches over the course of the weekend, with one exciting 8–7 win over Loyola Marymount University, before losing to Arizona State University, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge (10–4, 12–11, 9–7).

    “There was a ton to like today; this is a tournament where we are usually playing in the loser’s bracket and playing teams that don’t really challenge us,” UCSD Head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “It was our goal to play teams that challenge us and we did — we didn’t back down one time. We made mistakes but those mistakes can be fixed. I think the team is in a good spot right now.”

    Players like freshman Julia Kirkland and junior Sarah Lizotte both had great performances, with Kirkland scoring 11 goals and Lizotte with seven.

    “I think the tournament went fantastic,” Lizotte said. “It was good weekend despite the 1–3 score, which doesn’t sound good, but it’s really good for us for the beginning of the season.”

    Two weeks prior at the UCSB Winter Invitational, the Tritons went 3–1, losing just one match to Cal State Northridge 19–17.

    “We had two weeks off to really study what we were doing and we made some adjustments on our defense and it’s really improved,” Kreutzkamp said. “Now we have to fix the offensive side.”

    GAME 1: UCSD 8, Loyola Marymount 7

    The Tritons took the first match against Loyola Marymount 8–7 last Saturday, Feb. 9. The match remained competitive, as neither team had more than a two-goal lead for the duration of the match. Sophomore Rachel Brooks — last season’s WWPA freshman of the year — scored the first goal at the end of the second quarter. In the second half, the competition stiffened as both squads recorded four goals each. The Triton defense worked hard to defend against the Lions, with Lizotte scoring the game-winner with just three seconds of play left in the match.

    GAME 2: Arizona State 10, UCSD 4

    Against Arizona State, a close first quarter was followed by an ASU-dominated second period as the Sun Devils came out with five unanswered goals. Though the two teams went goal for goal in the third and fourth quarters, the Tritons were unable to gap the deficit in the end.

    Kirkland ended the first day of the tournament, with five goals, while Lizotte finished with three.

    GAME 3: UCSB 12, UCSD 11

    On Sunday against UCSB, the Tritons started with a steady 2–1 lead with goals from sophomore Jolene Guiliana and freshman Lauren Finwall. But the game heated up in the fourth quarter when UCSB took the lead at 7–5, the largest lead of the game. Kirkland rallied and brought the Tritons to a tie with three goals in the fourth to bring the score to 9–9 and the game into overtime. Both teams scored a goal each in overtime, but UCSB took the game 12–11 with just 50 seconds remaining in overtime.

    GAME 4: Cal State Northridge 9, UCSD 7

    The Tritons started strong against Cal State Northridge, leading 4–3 with goals from Lizotte, Finwall and Guiliana. After the half, Lizotte scored again, but Northridge took a 7–5 lead after the third quarter. In the fourth, Guillana and Wieseler netted two more goals, but it was too little too late as the Matadors took two late goals to cement the 9–7 win and seventh place in the tournament. In day two of tournament play, Wieseler and Lizotte both had three goals apiece, Finwall and Guilana scored two each, and freshman goalkeeper Courtney Miller had 25 saves — 38 over the course of the weekend.

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    Though the weekend ended on a somber note, Kreutzkamp was excited about his team’s weekend performance.

    “We would go 3–1 in the losers bracket, and now we are going 1–3 in the winners bracket, and we got way more out of this tournament than we did before,” Kreutzkamp said to the UCSD Athletics Department. “They are competitors, and that’s what we are looking for: people who want to play, compete, and who are gamers, and we have those — we just need to fix the mistakes. We’re young.”

    With the team fairly fresh and many members new to the program, many more factors come into play when thinking about the rest of the season.

    “We are all adjusting really well, the older girls and the new ones,” Lizotte said. “The younger girls are still learning the way we play at UCSD, so it’s just a matter of them adjusting to this type of program, and the older girls are doing a great job of integrating them.”

    The Tritons now have two weeks to get ready for a road tournament next weekend, Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 at the UC Irvine Invitational.

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