Gauchos Fall in Opening Matches at UC Irvine Invitational

Mackenzie Brokaw (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Mackenzie Brokaw (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- In opening the UC Irvine Invitational, UCSB dropped both its matching with a 11-3 decision to No. 3 USC followed by a 7-4 loss to No. 12 San Diego State.

Samantha Murphy recorded a hat trick in the team's match up with the Women of Troy, while Camila Schafer, Taylor Shore, Jenna Solberg, and Brenna Thomas all found the back of the net against the Aztecs.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

In their first game at the UC Irvine Invitational, the UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team fell to USC in an 11-3 loss.

Steals would give UCSB (7-8) scoring opportunities along with USC fouls that led to 6-on-5 setups, as the Gauchos successfully scored twice on alert plays. On defense, starting goalkeeper Mackenzie Brokaw had 11 saves but, in the end, the Women of Troy found openings to send the ball into the back of the net.

The Gauchos kept it close in the first half as they allowed the No. 3 ranked Trojans five goals. As a result of a USC foul, junior Samantha Murphy scored quickly in the first quarter to get her team on the board. The Women of Troy responded with three of their own goals soon thereafter and tacked on a pair in the second quarter. UCSB was unable to produce any goals in the second quarter and entered halftime behind 5-1.

USC displayed their powerful offensive muscle in the second half by building on a greater lead. The third quarter began quietly with one goal from each team, where Murphy put up her second goal of the day. The final eight minutes saw the Women of Troy connect for six goals from multiple players. Murphy ended with a hat trick as UCSB's third goal come in the last minutes of the game, but by then it was too late for a comeback and the Gauchos suffered the 11-3 loss.

SAN DIEGO STATE

No. 12 San Diego State (6-4) topped No. 17 UC Santa Barbara (7-9) in their third meeting of the year by a score of 7-4. Just like they did in the previous two meetings, SDSU jumped ahead early and hung on for the win. The Aztecs have now narrowly defeated UCSB three times this season, as the first two matches were both decided by just one goal.

Brenna Thomas, Taylor Shore, Camila Schafer and Jenna Solberg each contributed a goal for the Gauchos totaling four scores in the match. 

UCSB started off slow once again against the Aztecs going down 3-1 after the first and ultimately struggled to find their rhythm throughout the match. The Gauchos failed to score in the second quarter, while SDSU tacked on two more goals to take a 5-1 lead into halftime. 

The first two quarters against San Diego State have been troublesome for Santa Barbara this year. After three matches against the Aztecs, the Gauchos have been outscored 14-3 in total before the half. 

Though the Gauchos fought back in the previous two matches against SDSU in the second half, UCSB was unable to pick up the slack this time around. Santa Barbara found the net once in the third, while the Aztecs scored twice putting the Gauchos in a huge 7-2 hole going into the final quarter. 

UCSB scored twice in the fourth, but it was not enough as the Gauchos dropped their third straight match. 

Santa Barbara will continue tournament play tomorrow with two more matches, starting with UC San Diego at 10:30 a.m.