UCSD Takes Tournament

     

    The Tritons played two games in as many days, battling against their conference opponents in Fresno, Calif. UCSD entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed and took home the title, improving its season record to 21–12 overall.

    In its first game, UCSD outplayed opponents Cal State Monterey Bay. The Tritons jumped out to an early 7–2 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Tritons came out and applied the pressure early on.

    “In order to break the defense, we decided we would have to counter them,” UCSD junior Sarah Lizotte said. “That was our goal, and we did that, and it was a good start for us.”

    The Tritons clamped down on the defensive end and smothered Cal State Monterey Bay, holding them to just one goal in the remaining three quarters. 

    Junior Melissa Bartow led the Tritons with four goals, and UCSD cruised to advance and play against Cal State East Bay the following day.

    The game, played on Sunday April 14, proved to be a bigger challenge for the Tritons than the opening game of the tournament.

    “We weren’t happy with how we played,” Lizotte said. “Of course, we were happy to win the game, but we definitely wish we would have performed better as a team.”

    The Tritons found themselves down 5–2 at halftime and had to fight in order to get themselves back into the game. Junior Leah Gonzales proved to be the spark UCSD needed and came out aggressive to urge her team onward. 

    “Leah Gonzales came out and just put shots away,” Lizotte said. “Just so confident and precise in her shots — she knew what she wanted to do.” 

    Gonzales, who led the team with five goals, had what was arguably her best game of the season and pushed her teammates to score four goals in the third quarter in order to tie the game at 6–6 going into the fourth.

    “We feed off each other, and when we get down, we need someone to step up and be a game-changer,” Lizotte said. “I definitely think Leah stepped up into that role that day.” 

    In the final frame, UCSD went ahead 9–6 and withstood a push from Cal State East Bay to win the championship game 9–8. 

    Freshman goalkeeper Courtney Miller had a good weekend for the Tritons, recording 12 saves in the championship game, and took home the tournament MVP honors. 

    The Tritons will look to build on their recent successes when they jump back in the water this Friday, April 19, at home at Canyonview Pool, against Cal State San Bernardino at 6 p.m. UCSD will then follow up with a nonconference contest against San Diego State in the Harper Cup on Saturday, April 20 at home.

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