Tigers Drop Big West Tournament Opener To UCSB

Brydie Pye - Photo by Erin Adair
Brydie Pye - Photo by Erin Adair

Davis, Calif. – The Pacific women's water polo team was unable to overcome a slow start, falling to No. 13 UC Santa Barbara, 9-5, Friday, April 27, in a Big West Tournament first round game at UC Davis's Schaal Aquatics Center.

The Tigers were led by freshman Brydie Pye's two goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Michele Relton continued her stellar play of late, blocking 12 shots in a complete game effort.

Sixth-seeded Pacific (11-17) found itself down early, as No. 3 seed UC Santa Barbara (20-13) tallied its first goal at the 5:26 mark before scoring again one minute later. The Gauchos took a 3-0 lead at the 3:06 mark as the Tigers were held scoreless through the first quarter.

UCSB kept up the pressure in the second frame, going up 4-0 at the 5:49 mark. Pacific finally broke through on a goal from senior Kim Kay midway through the quarter, but the Gauchos responded with two more goals to take their largest lead of the game at 6-1. Sophomore Elise Martin pulled the Tigers to within four, 6-2, as she found the back of the cage with just 13 seconds on the clock.

Down by four at the beginning of the third quarter, Pye scored on a counter attack 15 seconds into the period before notching her second goal at the 6:21 mark, bringing Pacific to within two, 6-4. UC Santa Barbara ended the Tigers' run with a goal at the 5:09 mark, but freshman Taylor Adair answered for Pacific with 4:17 left in the frame. After freshman Kelsey Carter was called for an exclusion, the Gauchos put away an advantage goal at the 3:47 mark to take an 8-5 lead. Neither team would score the rest of the way as UCSB took its three-goal lead into the final quarter.

The fourth period was much the same as the first one for Pacific as the Tigers had many chances to score but came up empty each time. The Gauchos put away their ninth goal of the game with three seconds left on the clock, sealing the win.

UCSB's Lauren Martin led all scorers with a hat trick. Goalkeeper Ruth Milne recorded 11 saves.

Pacific moves on to the fifth-place game Sunday, April 29, where it will face No. 4 seed Long Beach State at 10:30 a.m. 

No. 13 UC Santa Barbara 9, Pacific 5
Pacific 0 – 2 – 3 – 0 –– 5
UC Santa Barbara 3 – 3 – 2 – 1 –– 9 

Pacific – Pye 2, Adair, Kay, Martin
UC Santa Barbara – Martin 3, Creek 2, Haroldson 2, Hafferkamp, Zakula 

Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific – Relton 12
UC Santa Barbara – Milne 11