Sports Recaps and Previews
Women’s Basketball: UCSB 58 UCI 38
The UC Irvine women’s basketball team was defeated by UC Santa Barbara (15-7, 9-0) 58-38 on Saturday at the Thunderdome.
The odd statistic of the day was in the free-throw category. UCSB nailed 20 of 25 free throw attempts as UCI scored four on only six attempts. UCI did not reach the charity stripe until 3:55 was left in regulation.
The Gauchos jumped out to an early 8-3 lead, but the Anteaters brought it to within four at 13-9 behind junior guard Rebecca Maessen, who scored the ‘Eaters’ first 9 points. UCSB would eventually jump out to their largest lead of the first half at 20-11 with 3:58 remaining. UCI would respond by closing the half on a 6-1 run to make the score 21-17 in UCSB’s favor.
UCI continued its run in the second half, opening with a 5-0 to take its first lead at 24-21 against the 15-7 Gauchos. At 26-26, UCSB would break out on a 6-0 run to take a 36-32 lead with just over nine minutes remaining. A Maessen lay-up would cut the gap to four, but that was as close as the Anteaters would get the rest of the night.
Maessen led all players with 18 points, while sophomore Ka’Jahna Johnson had 5 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Kim Barnes led all players with eight rebounds.
Women’s Water Polo
The UCI women’s water polo has started out the season with a blistering 5-1 record. The season opened with the Anteaters competing in the UCI mini-tournament against opponents Pomona-Pitzer College, Cal State San Bernardino and Harwick University, winning each of their games by between five to 15 goals. It seems that last year’s scoring issues are gone.
This last week of action in the pool featured the Anteaters competing in the Triton Invitational. The squad’s first game was a big win over Santa Clara 14-8. The next match featured a strong offensive onslaught by both teams, but Irvine was unable to outdo San Diego State and lost its second-round game, 10-8.
However, the opening rounds of the Triton Invitational concluded on Sunday with an Irvine win against Cal State Northridge, 5-8. The game featured our early top scorer, Gianni Rossi, putting in three goals.
For the last match of the Triton Invitational, Irvine will be facing the University of Southern California on Saturday.
UC Irvine will travel up north this week to take on fellow fourth seeds University of the Pacific and UC Davis. All the teams are 5-5 in Big West play.
UCI defeated Pacific 52-51 on final-second free throws by freshman Eric Wise on Jan. 15 at the Bren Events center. Pacific will be looking to avenge the heartbreak loss.
But first, UCI will be looking to avenge a loss of its own when it takes on UCD this Thursday in Davis.
In front of 2,646 at the Bren, UCI overcame an 18-point deficit over the final seven and a half minutes to see a Patrick Rembert game-tying 3-pointer fall short of the rim in the final second. Despite the 88-85 loss, UCI’s Michael Hunter, Brett Lauer and Rembert took over the game in the final minutes with their passionate play and inspired shooting. Coupled with some Aggie trash talking, the game was nothing less of intense.
In a conference where the top team and the bottom team are only separated by four games, every single game counts.
Men’s volleyball will be facing a very tough next couple of weeks. After winning nine of their last 10 matches, the Anteaters will be playing one game at home and three on the road. This week’s game features the second-ranked Anteaters against the 11th-ranked UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. However, this match will not be the biggest test over the next two weeks as Irvine has already beat the Gauchos earlier this season in four games. UCSB has been slipping as of late and provides an opportunity for the Anteaters to continue their win streak.
The real tests will happen in next week’s contests against fourth-ranked University of Southern California on Wednesday and Pepperdine University on Friday, both on the road.
The Anteaters are confident in their ability to beat both teams, but in a league that has the best teams in the country, anything is possible, especially on the road. The Anteaters will be traveling to a rowdy USC home court that features a jumbo-tron introduction of the home team. The intimidation is a slight factor, but a factor none the less. Irvine faced a similar cross-county rival in UCLA a few weeks ago and overcame the hype surrounding the game to take the match in four games. The New University expects a big win against the Trojans.
That same Friday of next week, Irvine will face first-ranked Pepperdine, which will be a battle of this season’s titans. The Waves are still undefeated after this last week of play, with the Anteaters only losing one game in league play thus far. This will be the biggest match in all of league play for our Anteaters.