Women's Water Polo Upsets No. 15 UC Santa Barbara, 10-7
Sophomore Taylor Adair tied her career high with four goals as the No. 20 Pacific women's water polo team upset 15th-ranked UC Santa Barbara, 10-7, in a Big West match Sunday at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara.
Adair scored three of her goals in the first half as Pacific (16-8, 1-1 BWC) held the Gauchos (16-8, 1-1 BWC) scoreless in the opening frame. Sophomore Brydie Pye notched a hat trick while junior Elise Martin added a pair of scores.
Goalkeeper Michele Relton made a number of key saves for the Tigers, finishing with 15 blocks.
"I couldn't be more proud of this team after today," head coach James Graham said. "We gutted out a tough road win over a very good UCSB team. There were times when we could have folded, but we kept battling and never got rattled. We showed a lot of heart today."
Pye spotted the Tigers an early one-goal lead, scoring on Pacific's first possession of the game. After junior Elise Martin found the back of the cage, Adair netted a power-play goal as the Tigers took a 3-0 lead midway through the quarter. Pye would score her second goal late in the frame as Pacific led 4-0 after the opening period.
The Gauchos snapped their scoreless drought with a goal early in the second quarter, but Adair tallied on an advantage opportunity to put Pacific back up four, 5-1. The two squads would trade goals before the hosts cut the Tigers' lead to two, 6-4, on back-to-back scores before intermission.
UCSB continued its scoring streak in the early part of the third quarter, pulling to within one on a power-play score. Both teams turned up the defensive intensity throughout the period, but in the waning seconds Adair snared the rebound off Martin's missed shot and put it in as Pacific led by two, 7-5, at the end of the third.
The fourth quarter saw the Gauchos score on their first possession, cutting the Tigers' lead to one, 7-6. Martin would draw a five-meter penalty, and Pye's first shot hit off the cross bar but her attempt off the rebound beat UCSB's goalkeeper as Pacific went back up two. Sophomore Kelsey Carter gave the Tigers a three-goal advantage, 9-6, before Martin converted a penalty drawn by sophomore Noelle Mann to spot the Tigers a four-point advantage.
The Gauchos would score down the stretch but Pacific held on as Relton recorded three blocks late to preserve the win.
Pacific resumes Big West play with a pair of home matches next weekend. The Tigers will take on Long Beach State at 7 p.m. Friday before squaring off with UC Irvine at 12 p.m. Saturday.
No. 20 Pacific 10, No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 7
Pacific 4 - 2 - 1 - 3 -- 10
UC Santa Barbara 0 - 4 - 1 - 2 -- 7
Pacific - Adair 4, Pye 3, Martin 2, Carter
UC Santa Barbara - Murphy 3, Porter 2, Creek, Haroldson
Pacific - Relton 15
UC Santa Barbara - Milne 12