April 29, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Despite holding the home pool advantage at the 2011 Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament, third-seeded UC Santa Barbara (16-12) was unable to knock off sixth-seeded Long Beach State (13-16) in the tournament's first round on Friday evening. The Gauchos' 4-3 loss to the 49ers dashed their hopes at becoming the conference's first automatic qualifier into this May's NCAA Tournament.
UCSB will now play for fifth place on Sunday at 11 a.m. against fourth-seeded Pacific, which suffered an upset of its own, falling 8-4 to fifth-seeded UC Davis earlier in the day.
A pair of fourth quarter goals by Long Beach's Krizia Cerda ensured the win for the 49ers. With the score deadlocked at two apiece, Cerda opened the fourth quarter with a goal just 20 seconds after the sprint. She added a six-on-five goal with 4:55 to go to put Long Beach up by two.
The game was a hard-fought defensive battle the whole way through. Long Beach gained the early lead just 26 seconds into the game with a goal from Lauren Sieprath, but the Gauchos were able to even the score when Claire Buchanan backhanded the ball from two meters with 3:41 left on the clock in the first.
The two teams proceeded to fight through over 13 minutes of scoreless play before Julia Garyfallou regained the lead for the 49ers halfway through the third quarter. Just over two minutes later, Kathryn Nelson took a shot that was rebounded by Buchanan and dished back to her. Nelson nailed her second chance to knot the game back up.
With the score tied at two-all, Cerda stepped up with the late game heroics for Long Beach. Nelson was able to tack on one last goal during a six-on-four opportunity with 25 seconds to go, but the 49ers were able to hold onto the ball and exhaust the clock to ensure the victory.
UCSB was dominant in the ejections battle as they drew nine versus Long Beach's three. The Gauchos drew five ejections in the first half alone, but could not convert any of those six-on-five opportunities.
For her part, Long Beach State goalkeeper, Kristen Stragier was phenomenal as she tallied 14 saves to anchor the 49ers' defensive effort. For the Gauchos, Ruth Milne tallied 10 saves.
Long Beach 4, UC Santa Barbara 3
LBSU Goals: Krizia Cerda 2, Julia Garyfallou,
LBSU Saves: Kristen Stragier 14.
UC Davis 8, Pacific 4
UCD Goals: Dakotah Mohr 4, Jessica Dunn 2,
Michelle Hook, Ariel Feeney.
UCD Saves: Riane Woods 14.
Pacific Goals: Bethany Quertermous 2, Dara
Pacific Saves: Michele Relton 13.