No. 7 UCI women’s polo team faced No. 4 UCLA Bruins in an endurance match that went to double OT last Friday. UCI, coming into the game 3-4, had just split four games picking up two losses and two wins at the Triton invitational Tournament in La Jolla. The Anteaters came back to Irvine determined, but were unable to best UCLA.
The first quarter was marked by a quick start that saw several shots, but it was not until there was 5:24 left to play that UCLA found the back of the net. Freshman goalie Morgan Jones turned aside a bullet, but as it was deflected out of bounds, the Bruins had another chance for attack, and drew an exclusion out of UCI allowing them to take advantage of the Irvine defense. Exclusions throughout the game would hinder UCI’s chances, as they would go on to give up 11 penalties throughout the game compared to UCLA’s two.
The Eaters, however, were not deterred by UCLA’s goal and quickly answered as senior attacker Julie Swieca blasted a shot past the Bruins’ defense, going top left on a goal that would silence the UCLA section of the crowd with 3:54 left to play. The quarter would see no more goals, though each team was grinding playing heavy D and slowing the pace of the game.
The second quarter opened with another great defensive stop by UCI. Irvine’s hard press made it difficult for the Bruins to get shots on net, throughout the game Irvine out-shot the Bruins 34-23. Despite UCI’s best efforts, UCLA again scored first 3:40 into the quarter. Only 14 seconds later when Senior attacker Keana Eldridge found the back of the net, again with a hard shot soaring top left. The goal tied the game 2-2, thought this would be short lived, as UCLA would score 22 seconds later. With just over a minute left to play Irvine tied up the game 3-3.
The third saw UCLA score three in the first three minutes, again UCI was plagued by penalties and exclusions. After dropping three points Irvine tightened up their defense, not allowing another goal until there was a minute left to play in the fourth. Unfortunately the Anteaters couldn’t put up any points in the third.
The last quarter of regulation saw UCI take control, as junior attacker Cara Borkovec snuck a shot by the Bruin’s defense just 56 seconds into the period teasing the Eaters with the smell of a come back. With 5:38 left and a comeback in mind senior center Natalie Seidemann brought the Anteaters within a goal of tying the game. Not long after it was Allie Loomis, the senior attacker who tied the game 6-6 with 5:02 left to play. Then with just under two minutes left it was Loomis again who scored UCI’s only power play goal of the game and also giving them their first lead bringing the score to 7-6 in favor of the Eaters. With 1:06 left, UCLA answered, sending the game into overtime.
Overtime saw several big stops by Jones and a handful of good chances from UCI’s offense, though one period of OT was not enough to break the tie, and in the second the Bruins found the back of the net with 1:42 left to play of the three minute overtime period. UCI had no answer, taking the loss to UCLA.
This Friday, Feb. 23, the Lady Eaters will again play at UCI against Loyola Marymount, and have the Barbara Kalbus tournament the same weekend.