Tritons lose nailbiter, drop third straight

Tritons lose nailbiter, drop third straight
Photo by Keita Kobayashi/ UCSD Guardian

In their first non-tournament matchup of the season, No. 14 UC San Diego took a tight 12–11 loss Friday evening against No. 11 Loyola Marymount, extending the Triton’s win drought to 3 games. 


Junior Kendall Thomas and redshirt junior Caroline Christl both netted 3 goals, and junior Lucia Doak and senior Annika Arroyo each contributed 2. Thomas also led the team with 5 points off a pair of assists, closely followed by Arroyo and sophomore Sydney Munatones who racked up 2 and 3 assists, respectively.


The Knights struck first in the opening period, converting on their second possession. Thomas evened the score with an off-the-cage netting following an LMU goalkeeper exclusion. She threw in another goal several possessions later to keep the game close at 3–2. Doak followed suit to end the period down 4–3.


Exclusions were consequential in the first period, with each side collecting 2 powerplay goals; the Knights added 1, and the Tritons 2, by halftime.


“Our main goal was to not have too many of those [exclusions] against us,” head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said. “We only had 7 [goals] against us which were okay, but we dug ourselves too big of a hole with the first one.”


Arroyo rifled a shot into the Knights’ net to open up UCSD’s second-period scoring. However, LMU goals sandwiched Arroyo’s to keep the visitors ahead. That was until Christl and Munatones converted on consecutive cross-goal shots, tying the game at 6–6; Christl’s goal extended her team-leading score streak to five games.


The Triton defense struggled to quell the Knights’ offensive play, which was defined by patience and point-blank shots; by halftime, the score stood at 8–6 in favor of LMU thanks to a .533 shot percentage across the two periods. UC San Diego outshot its opponents 22-15 to rack up a .273 percentage.


The hosts switched to a speed lineup upon returning from halftime — a decision that yielded a score from Doak just 20 seconds into the period. The Knights continued to press offensively, driving in 2 more scores to create a 10–7 lead by the end of the third period.


“I thought when we adjusted at halftime, they adjusted to the scheme,” Kreutzkamp said. “We only gave up two in the third quarter, so we adjusted nicely to the instruction at halftime.”


The Tritons lost the sprint for the first time to open the final 8 minutes. Nevertheless, Christl slung in 2 unanswered scores within the first 2 minutes; the second was a penalty shot nestled into the bottom left corner. Thomas joined Christl at 3 goals with a point-blank throw for a familiar 11–10 deficit. 


“I felt that we shot much better tonight than we have in the past, so that was a good sign,” Kreutzkamp said.


After 4 scoreless minutes, a LMU penalty shot distanced the game by 2 points. Undeterred, the Tritons pushed on for a last-ditch attempt that yielded a goal from Arroyo, just one short of a tie to end the match 12–11.


The Tritons came into this matchup on a two-game winless streak after taking losses to Big West sides California State University, Long Beach, and UC Santa Barbara during the school’s Triton Invitational. They were also on the back foot against LMU, who held a 29–20 record against UCSD entering the game. Despite this, the most recent two meetings have been competitive, with each side claiming one victory.


UC San Diego hops back into tournament play next week, where they will compete in the Barbara Kalbus Invitational hosted by UC Irvine. The team’s first match is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. against UC Berkeley, currently No. 5 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s poll. 


“We’re gonna have to play better half-court defense,” Kreutzkamp said. “We were giving up a little bit too much out of the middle. And we switched our defense up at halftime to play more of a zone, and it looks like we should have been doing that from the beginning.”


The Tritons are 1–17 all-time against the Bears; their lone victory came in their most recent meeting, however, by way of a triple-overtime 14–13 triumph on Jan. 19, 2020. 


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About the Contributors
Senji Torrey, Contributing Writer
Senji is a third-year transfer student majoring in Communication. With three years of grueling high school newspaper experience under his belt, Senji is ready for his big break down in SD!
Keita Kobayashi
Keita Kobayashi, Photo Editor
Photo team, best team (W.I.P)
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