Season Finale

     

    The UCSD women’s water polo team had a rough finish to the end of its season this past weekend at the NCAA championships, hosted by Harvard University from May 10 to May 12.

    The Tritons entered the event as the No. 5 seed but were ousted by No. 4 University of Hawaii. Subsequently, UCSD moved into the consolation bracket, beating Pomona-Pitzer before losing to sixth-seeded Princeton University in overtime to place sixth.

    “Harvard put on an amazing display of our sport. It was very professional,” UCSD team captain and Western Water Polo Association Player of the Year Sarah Lizotte said. “They did an amazing job, and we were really lucky they were able to host that for us.”

    Friday, May 10:
    UCSD 6, Hawaii 13

    UCSD opened up the tournament against the Big West conference champion squad from Hawaii. Hawaii got off to a hot start behind two goals from Zoe Respondek. A goal from junior Melissa Bartow kept the Tritons close at the end of the first quarter, but subsequent 5–1 periods with Hawaii on top in the second and third quarters put the game out of reach.

    “Quite frankly, we just weren’t prepared,” Lizotte said. “We weren’t prepared for the physicality. They came out harder and stronger than we did, and they just outplayed us in every aspect.”

    UCSD was able to outshoot the Rainbow Wahine 3–1 in the fourth frame, but the game was well out of reach by that point, and the Tritons were sent to the consolation bracket. Hawaii went on to lose in the next round to the eventual NCAA national champion USC and finished fourth overall.

    Saturday, May 11:
    UCSD 15, Pomona-Pitzer 8

    In the consolation bracket, UCSD came out strong. The Tritons jumped all over Pomona-Pitzer and never let them into the game.

    “I think after our first performance, we really wanted to turn it around,” Lizotte said. “We came out with more fire than we did on Friday.”

    Lizotte herself came out hot, scoring five goals for the Tritons in the first half, propelling UCSD to a 10–5 halftime lead. Bartow had three goals, and sophomore Rachel Brooks added two in the first half to round out the scoring. 

    In the second half, UCSD continued to pepper the net. Brooks picked up another goal. The Triton freshmen took control of the remainder as UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp utilized his bench to manage minutes. Alexis Wieseler threw in two goals, while Julia Kirkland and Emma Sasson grabbed one each.

    With the win, UCSD moved on to face Princeton University in a challenge for fifth place.

    Sunday, May 12:
    UCSD 10, Princeton 12

    Despite getting off to a great start, the Tritons couldn’t maintain their momentum and lost to Princeton in overtime. The Tigers scored the first goal, but three straight goals from the Tritons put UCSD on top.

    The game was tied at 7–7 going into the fourth quarter, but two quick goals from the Tritons and another goal from Bartow with 5:39 remaining gave UCSD a 10–7 lead. Princeton refused to give up, however, and the Tritons were unable to maintain the lead. UCSD gave up three goals in a three-minute span to bring the game into overtime.

    “We came out in the first half ready to play,” Lizotte said. “We went up by three, and it kind of spun downward from there.”

    Princeton added a point in each overtime period and came away with the victory. UCSD failed to build much momentum on offense, as fatigue increasingly began to show on the Tritons’ side. Early-game foul trouble caused the Tritons to play on shortened rotations, and the extra minutes slowed them down in the overtime periods.

    Despite the result, the Tritons had a very successful season, earning their highest-placed finish in UCSD history at sixth in the tournament. UCSD also had five tournament titles on the year, and with the full team returning for next season, the Triton squad is poised to perform well again in 2014.

    “We’re coming back next year with a full squad, and that’s really good for our program,” Lizotte said. “It’s exciting, and it’s something to look forward to. This was a great season, and I’m really proud of my team, and I’m really hopeful for next season.”

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