The water polo team faced one of their toughest challenges yet when they squared off against the University of Santa Barbara Gauchos. The Gauchos are the #15 team in the nation and boasted a 17-5 record coming into the game.
“Going into it we knew it was going to be a really tough game. We were really focused on competing with them and keeping up with the speed of their game,” said senior, Taylor Brooks.
The game was played in spurts of rain at the Seawolves home pool, Dr. G. Edward Rudloff pool. The first quarter of the game saw the Gauchos seize immediate control. 19 seconds into the game, UCSB scored. After some penalty trouble and conceding a breakaway goal, the Seawolves were down 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Seawolves would find the back of the net in the second quarter from a well placed shot by Amanda Weddle. Brooks would also score after she blasted a shot between defenders and the goalie to make it 9-2. The Seawolves would then concede two more goals before the half closed with a score of 11-2 in favor of the Gauchos.
An early penalty from the Gauchos resulted in Jojo Williams scoring 50 seconds into the third quarter. After two goals in response from UCSB, Jojo Williams would score on another nice finish while the Seawolves were playing man up. The quarter would end with the Gauchos up 16-5.
The Seawolves were outscored 6-1 in the final quarter, with the final score of the game being 22-6. The team hopes to take this loss against difficult competition to better themselves for their remaining games. “It was a good challenge for us and that set the tone for us to play hard for these next couple of games,” said Brooks.
The team would then go on the road for a Saturday matchup against Cal State East Bay. The Seawolves went down early with the score at 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter, SSU was down 8-4. The final quarter saw the Seawolves score three goals while holding their opposition scoreless.
Although the comeback fell short, the team has plenty to be excited about heading into their final games of the season. Their next three games will all be played at home and the team hopes to use this to their advantage. “We’re super excited to play at our home pool. It’ll be nice to play in a pool we’re familiar with along with our home crowd!,” said Brooks.
Their next game will be played on Saturday, April 6 against Fresno Pacific. Followed by a 9 a.m. tilt against UC San Diego on April 7.