UC Irvine 3
The No. 4-ranked UC Irvine women’s water polo team lost 10-3 to No. 1-ranked Stanford Friday night in a hard-fought game.
The Anteaters, coming off a fivegame win streak, were set back by a superior, talented and well-coached Stanford team. However after an abysmal first half, the Anteaters got things together and showed the Cardinals that they could keep up.
In the first quarter, the Anteaters struck quickly with a goal from sophomore Gianna Rossi. However, this goal seemed to have woken the Cardinals and they responded with a much more pressurized defense and attack.
Stanford responded with a suffocating defense that forced the Anteaters to take low percentage long-range shots. Some players seemed confused, forcing errant passes and failing to string good passes together.
On offense, the Cardinals found the holes in the Anteater defense and exploited them. Exploding with eight unanswered goals, the Cardinals dominated the Anteaters for the entire first half.
With the score at halftime 8-1, Head Coach Dan Klatt tried something new. Whatever he told the Anteaters, it worked. UCI only conceded two goals in the third quarter and shut out the Cardinal in the fourth period. Although the Anteaters only scored two goals in the second half, it was clear that offense began to click.
The Anteaters (15-7 overall, 3-5 Big West) saw better looks at the net throughout the second half, which provided for some exciting play. All in all, it was not the Anteaters scorers’ day for they could not cut the deficit much.
When asked about what went wrong during the game, Klatt responded, ‘A good team takes [advantage of] kick outs and man down situations or penalty situations. We did not do that, they did. And we let them counter the whole first half. Their UNLV running rebel style of water polo, the go-go pressing style of play, allowed them to do what they do best in the first half and that really hurt us.’
The Anteaters failed to convert on 11 power play opportunities, while the Cardinals converted on five of ten power plays, including one penalty score.
And when asked about what accounted for the better second half play, Klatt said, ‘We just stopped letting them counter. When we slow them down and make them work in the corner, we’re fine. Because of their tremendous speed, like UCLA, their transition game is very hard to overcome and adjust to, which was the story of the first half.’
The Anteaters seemed to adjust well in the second half and, in the end, junior goalkeeper Lauren Machanis recorded six saves.
Sophomore Gianna Rossi, junior Jessica Lewis and senior Jackie Prine each had a goal for the Anteaters.
‘The good thing is that we have a lot to learn from the other team,’ said senior captain Jackie Prine. ‘We know that we have to stick to the fundamentals of the game, because if you stray away from that, winning is impossible.’
With this attitude the Anteaters should create and continue more success for the rest of the season.
The Anteaters next travel to San Diego to take on San Diego State University on April 12 at 3 p.m.