Strong Results at Bison Invitational

    Strong Results at Bison Invitational

    WP1_Kyle Szeto

    UCSD wins three, drops one despite weather delays, improves to 9-3 on season

    Severe weather and travel delays could not hold back the UCSD women’s water polo team from putting forth a strong, competitive showing against several top teams in the annual Bison Invitational in Lewisburg, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 15 to Feb. 16.

    “I don’t think the unexpected travel hindered our play,” senior utility Sarah Lizotte said. “More than anything we were all ready to get back into the water and back into the swing of things.”

    The team was stranded in Chicago for the night last Thursday due to flight cancellations, forcing the Tritons to take an 11-hour-long bus ride to Lewisburg on Friday. With UCSD still not in Pennsylvania, its opening game of the tournament against host team Bucknell University was cancelled.

    Instead, No. 13 UCSD began play on Saturday against No. 20 University of Michigan, followed by a face-off with No. 8 Princeton later in the afternoon.

    Starting off the day strong, the Tritons drowned Michigan in a 13–7 victory to kick off their tournament play. Lizotte — who broke the all-time scoring and assists record formerly held by former U.S. Olympian Julie Swail — recorded a hat-trick right away in game one, getting the team off and running for their first win of the weekend.

    Sophomore attacker Julia Kirkland also chipped in three goals, while senior center Melissa Bartow put away another two.

    “The first game against Michigan I think it really showed we came out strong after being held up in a bus the whole day before,” Bartow said.

    Falling 9–8 in a close match with Princeton in game two, the Tritons ended the day just short to cap off the first day of the tournament with a split.

    The next day UCSD closed out the Bison Invitational with a pair of wins at the Kinney Natatorium, over unranked George Washington University 14–7 and No. 20 Wagner College 10–9.

    “The first game we played a lot of our younger girls and allowed them to gain game experience,” Bartow said. “Which I believe is huge in the development of a player.”
    Junior attacker Jolene Guiliana recorded a hat-trick in game one against George Washington. The Tritons gained the lead and held it after solid second period with three consecutive goals from Guiliana, sophomore center Lauren Finwall and junior attacker Andie Nishimi.

    Against Wagner later that day, sophomore goalie Courtney Miller blocked 15 shots for the Tritons to help them gain the upper hand in a close finish. Lizotte, along with fellow senior defense Allison Delgado, junior attacker Rachel Brooks and Kirkland, powered the offense with two goals apiece. UCSD improves to 9–3 overall after finishing out the Bison Invitational.

    “Some may think that flights canceled, a time change, an eleven hour bus ride, snow storms and below-thirty degree weather would cause drama and stress amongst the team, but I believe this trip brought our already close-knit team even closer,” Bartow said.

    On tap for the Triton women is a road trip up to UC Irvine for the UC Irvine Invite this weekend.

    “The UCI tournament is always a huge one for us every year,” Lizotte said. “There are pretty much all top-12 schools competing at UCI this weekend, and I think it’s going to be great for us to see our progress thus far and see where we are headed.”

    UCSD kicks off the tournament with a match up against the University of Hawaii on Saturday at 11:45 a.m.

    “Hawaii will be a great first game,” Lizotte said. “I think we are more than capable of competing with any team in the top ten. So I’m excited to see how it will go.”

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