Coming to the end of fall quarter, the Women’s Club Water Polo Team put on the event of the season. Inviting teams from all across the country, the Triton Invite was a huge success. The program brought two teams to compete this weekend on their home turf. These would be the first collegiate games for many athletes.
The UCSD A team was tasked with 4 very intense matchups. First, the University of Michigan Wolverines, who the team beat in the 3rd place game at Nationals last year. This time, after a hard fought game, the Tritons came out on the bottom, losing 7-10. The next game, against another out-of-state team, University of Washington, the ladies found their rhythm, winning 13-6. The next morning, the ladies woke up to take on the Cal Poly SLO Mustangs. The Mustangs kept up with the Tritons for the first half, at halftime, it was 5-4. In the end, the Tritons pulled away, beating them 11-7. Finally, the Tritons approached their most intense game of the weekend, the final game of the tournament, against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. When all was said and done, the two teams tied (9-9) and per the tournament rules, no overtime was played out.
Across the pool, we saw spectacular performances from multiple athletes. Offensively, top scorers were Julia Derunes (10 goals), Amanda Martilla (8 goals), and Sarah Horne (7 goals). We saw assists across the board, from 11 different athletes. On the other end, we saw a dominant defense. Natalie Kaplanyan led the team with 9 steals, followed closely by Kimberly Holland who had 7 steals and also tallied 4 fieldblocks over the weekend. Additionally, our goalies were the cornerstone of our defense this weekend, both hitting double digits in their block counts.
The UCSD B team had a great weekend, with 3 equally intense matchups. In their first game, against ASU B, the team came out strong, finishing the first quarter, 3-4, but in the end, came up short losing 3-11. Later that day, the Tritons came out against UCSD B, battling to the very end, but ending the game 5-12. Finally, the Tritons came back the next day, excited to play SDSU B, who they kept within a few goals with, until the game until the fourth quarter, where the Aztecs pulled away, ending 1-11. Our B team showed a huge amount of growth this weekend, as it was their first time playing together as a team. Captain Riley Cristat says, “the team is super excited to learn from the tournament and we were really glad to have the chance to play against other B teams before league.”
The UCSD B team also had some breakout performances from some of their Athletes. Elicia Dowell had 7 steals and Lauren Steward also had 3. We also had 5 players score their first collegiate goal, Riley Cristat, Lillianna Castorena, Elicia Dowell, Kimberly Van Meter, and Naomi Esparza. In the goal, Goalie Dani Gonzalez had an outstanding tournament, she racked up 19 blocks, and even put one in the back of the net, scoring 1 goal.
In the end, this tournament got our teams PUMPED for what lies ahead of both teams. Stay tuned to see how we compete as we inch closer to our season!