The No. 18 UC Santa Barbara women’s water polo team began its 2022 season on Friday, welcoming 11 visiting schools to Campus Pool for day one of the 2022 UCSB Winter Invite. The Gauchos opened the day with a 19-7 win over Ottawa, Ariz., before falling to No. 16 San Jose State 15-7 to close things out.
The Spirit struck first with a power play goal less than two minutes in, but their time holding the lead would be short-lived.
Utility Caitlyn Snyder opened the scoring for the Gauchos’ season at the 3:59 mark of the first. Attackers Nina Munson and Sarah Owens scored next as the Gauchos extended it to a 5-0 run before the end of the opening period.
UCSB’s lead grew to as large as 15 in the fourth quarter, as the Gauchos improved to 7-1 in their season-opening games under head coach Serela Kay.
Munson and Owens ended their first outings of 2022 with three goals apiece to lead the team. Leigh Lyter, Drew Halvorson, Imani Clemons and Cami Mras all scored twice.
UCSB went on to lose to San Jose State 5-17.
Closing the day against the Spartans, UCSB took some punches early as San Jose State got out to a 4-0 lead less than four minutes in. Halvorson put the home side on the board with a goal at the 4:13 mark, but the Gauchos went into the second trailing 5-1.
A huge shift in momentum came next, as Caitlyn Snyder scored three unanswered goals before halftime, calmly firing perfectly placed left-handed shots past goalkeeper Elaina Davey and hearing it from the Gaucho faithful.
SJSU’s Cila David scored one of her game-high five goals with two seconds before halftime, making it a 7-5 game in favor of the visitors at the break.
Unfortunately for the Gauchos, it was the Spartans who won the decisive third frame, outscoring UCSB 5-1 in the period to seal the win.
Michael Jorgenson writes about sports for UCSB.