This weekend, the Eaters hosted 16 of the nation’s top 20 in the Barbara Kalbus Invitational.
UCI matched up against No. 11 Loyola Marymount Friday, Feb. 23 in the first round of the tournament.
The Anteaters powered past LMU 12-5. Senior center Natalie Seidmann led the team with four goals against LMU, bringing UCI’s overall record to 4-5.
The next morning, UCI faced No. 2 Cal in the quarterfinals of the tournament. The ‘Eaters couldn’t advance past the Bears, ultimately losing 6-10. The ‘Eaters had moments of offensive explosion, but drew many penalties making it hard to mount counter attacks against the Bears’ grinding defense. The ‘Eaters at the end of the first trailed 1-2 Loomis found the net in the second and had an assist to keep the ‘Eaters within range, 3-4 at the half. Cal would go on connect four goals through the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, giving the Bears a 10-4 lead, though junior attacker Reagan Castillo broke the chain in their consecutive goals late in the fourth. Christina Reyes added another, but it was too little, too late as the ‘Eaters fell to Cal, moving on to play ASU later that afternoon. ASU fell to USC in the game following UCI’s loss to Cal.
“It is always good to get to see the teams we will be playing today and down the road play in this tournament,” Loomis said. “It gives us a good opportunity to study conference opponents and get a leg up on the teams we play.”
ASU ranked No. 6, and matched up well with the ‘Eaters. The teams battled for possession in the first, the Sun Devils drawing first blood, though with a minute left in the first, UCI tied things up 1-1. Before the end of the of the quarter ASU again found the back of the net during a power play. The ‘Eaters then lapsed, allowing ASU to string three points together and could not make up the lost ground, losing to ASU, 9-6. Though in their attempts to regain ground on the Sun Devils, UCI’s freshman utility Isabell Rack recorded her first career hat trick.
The ‘Eaters’ loss to ASU put them in a contest for seventh place against No. 7 Pacific. The medal round took place the following morning of Sunday, Feb. 25. The ‘Eaters gave up the first goal, but quickly took control for the rest of the quarter. Loomis, Rack and Julie Swieca all added to the ‘Eaters scoring, giving them the 4-2 lead at the quarter. The rest of the game, each team held the lead intermittently. Tensions mounted as UCI trailed 7-9 during the fourth. Loomis brought UCI within one on a breakaway, but it was Seidmann who scored two in the last three minutes to tie the game at 10 and send it to OT. The first OT period saw one goal on a penalty shot by Pacific, and during second period they scored again, this time on a powerplay bringing the score to 10-12. Swieca found the net with less than a minute to play, but could not regain significant possession, and fell to the Tigers 11-12.
UCI will head to Hawaii on Saturday, March 3 to play their first Big West opponent.