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WWP Falls To CSU Bakersfield And UC Santa Barbara

          Release: 03/17/2013
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Report Courtesy of Dr. Jack Breslin

SANTA BARBARA, CA - After leading in the opening period, the Iona women’s water polo team’s offense stalled resulting in a 14-10 loss to California State University Bakersfield Sunday afternoon in the Gaels' first match at the Gaucho Invitational Tournament at the University of California Santa Barbara.  The team then dropped its final match of the annual Spring Break road trip with a 12-7 Sunday afternoon loss to No. 15 Santa Barbara later in the day.

Against Bakersfield, senior Alyssa Turza put the Gaels on the board with 6:47 left in the first period.   CSUB came back to tie the game at one each, but Iona went off on a 4-1 run to lead 5-2 going into the second period.  Despite being outscored 3-1 in the second quarter, Iona managed a 6-5 halftime advantage. 

Thirty-four seconds into the third period, Turza’s third goal put Iona up 7-5.  But Iona’s defensive lapses allowed CSUB to mount a 3-0 run for an 8-7 lead at the 3:34 mark. Junior Erika Lauraitis tied the game at eight at 2:42 left in the third period.   After another 3-0 opponent run in the last two minutes, the Gaels trailed 11-8 going into the final period.

In the fourth quarter, junior Amy Olsen scored twice, but CSUB added three to hold off any Iona comeback.

Turza, Olsen and Lauraitis scored three goals each, and freshman Meghan Mahoney added one.    Lauraitis assisted on two Iona goals.   Junior goalie Marisa Gaynor recorded eight saves in the loss.

Against Santa Barbara, a goal sixteen seconds into the match gave the hosts the first tally, but junior Hannah Cross tied the game at one 35 ticks later.   But UCSB hit four unanswered goals for a 5-1 lead at the end of the opening period.

A pressing Gael defense held the Gauchos scoreless in the second quarter with junior Sarah Hanly’s goal at 6:49 narrowing the home team’s lead to 5-2 at intermission.

In the third period, UCSB’s offense revived with four consecutive goals until Olsen ended Gaels scoring drought with four minutes to go in the third.

Trailing 9-3 going into the final period, Iona outscored UCSB 4-3 sparked by two Olsen goals.   With 2:06 left in regulation, Lauraitis’ five-meter penalty goal narrowed the Gaucho lead to 11-7.    But another UCSB score 36 seconds later ended the Gaels comeback hopes.

Olsen led Iona with three goals, while Cross, Lauraitis, Hanly, and Turza scored one goal each.  Gaynor recorded six saves in the loss.

Iona concluded its Southern California road trip with five wins (California Baptist, George Washington, Azusa Pacific, Redlands, Macalester), two losses (CSU Bakersfield, UC Santa Barbara) and one exhibition loss (Concordia).   In the Gaels eight Spring Break road matches, Olsen led Iona with 19 goals, while Lauraitis and Turza scored 15 each.

“We played a strong first half versus Bakersfield, controlling the pace of the game.  Unfortunately, we did not play as a team in the third quarter, and we made some bad decisions on offense, which led to a strong run by their counter attack.

Iona head coach Brian Kelly was disappointed in ending the team’s “very successful” trip with two losses.

“A 6-2 third quarter put us from being up one to down three, and you can’t have that kind of swing and expect to win against a good team,” Kelly said.

“Against Santa Barbara our women fought hard, but their physicality gave us a tough time, and we didn’t have a lot of answers.”  

While pleased with his team’s overall road-trip performance, Kelly stated that the close losses showed some weaknesses.

“As a whole, it was a very successful trip,” Kelly said.  “We had chances to make it an outstanding trip, but a couple of close losses shows us that we still have a lot of work to do.”
The Gaels begin their Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule with four league matches this weekend at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA.
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