Gauchos’ Comeback Falls Short, Lose 8-6 to Northridge

Gauchos’ Comeback Falls Short, Lose 8-6 to Northridge

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara women's water polo team (12-15, 1-3) was handed a difficult 8-6 loss in their final road game of the regular season against Cal State Northridge (14-10, 3-2) on Saturday.

Five different Gauchos provided goals with junior Samantha Murphy leading the way with two, as she also added an assist and a steal. Goalkeeper Mackenzie Brokaw continued her tremendous season-long performance with eight saves.

Tess Wardle opened up the match with a goal to put UCSB ahead early in the third minute. The Matadors would fight back for possession of the ball and find an open gap to drive it into the net. The Gauchos broke the tie in the closing seconds with a Miranda Schrader goal to put them back up 2-1.

UCSB and CSUN would carry their battle for control into the next quarter. For five minutes the ball exchanged hands multiple times but Northridge's Mackenzy Fowler broke the stalemate at the 3:37 mark with the equalizer. A minute later, her teammate Madeleine Sanchez gave the Matadors their first lead of the game and never looked back.

Northridge built a comfortable edge to begin a quiet second half. Matador Kelcy Barott had the only goals in the third quarter coming in the last few minutes. Entering the last quarter, the Gauchos were trailing 5-2, but they would make things interesting with a late-game comeback effort.

Senior Jade Wentz-Fitzgerald cut the deficit in the opening seconds and Murphy further lessened the Matador advantage less than a minute later. Leading 5-4, Northridge gained back their secure stance with a 3-1 run in a three-minute span. The sole UCSB goal coming during that frame was from Murphy. With two minutes remaining, Bryn Hudson drove her shot past the Matadors' goalkeeper. However, the Gauchos came up short in sending the game into overtime as time winded down for the final 8-6 score.

UCSB closes its regular season at home next week when they host Long Beach State at Campus Pool on Saturday, April 18th starting at noon.