For the third straight weekend, the SBCC women’s water polo team won three of four games. On Friday, the Vaqueros opened the Mt. SAC Classic by defeating Santa Monica 13-1 and Saddleback 15-6. The following day, they fell to Fullerton 11-8 before closing things out with a 10-4 win over San Joaquin Delta.
Santa Barbara is now 9-3 overall and 2-0 in Western State Conference play.
In their first game of the weekend against Santa Monica, the Vaqueros set a new season-low for goals allowed.
Utility Natalie Mancinelli followed up her second three-goal performance of the year in SBCC’s previous game with a season-high five goals to lead the way. Kara Hughes also had her third three-goal game of the season while fellow center Gabi Turnbull finished with two goals and a team-leading four steals.
Attacker Ella Prado finished with a team-high three assists. After leading 8-1 through just one quarter, the Vaqueros’ claimed their fourth double-digit victory through their first nine games.
Santa Barbara fought through a lot of adversity for its second win of the day, making its coaching staff proud with its resiliency. For the second straight game, a Vaquero would score five goals. This time, it was freshman utility Claire Daland, who notched her fourth hat trick on her way to a season-high.
Gabrielle Muehring and Eden Tal both finished with three goals. Tal also had four assists to lead all players.
Defensively, Tal and Alessia Gressi finished with four steals each and goalkeepers Chloe McKay and Ava Donleavy had five and two saves, respectively.
Opening day two on Saturday against Fullerton, SBCC battled back from an early 4-1 deficit, eventually tying it 7-7 on a Jenna Olson goal with 7:06 remaining in the game. Unfortunately, the game would end the same way it started, as Fullerton went on another 4-1 run to hand the Vaqueros their only loss of the weekend.
Bella Straley finished with a team-high three goals and set a season-high with six drawn exclusions. Olson was active on defense, finishing with three steals and finishing with two goals, as did Tal.
The Vaqueros never trailed in their final game of the weekend, taking an early 4-1 lead and heading into halftime up 7-2 before cruising to the win the rest of the way.
Daland notched team-highs of two goals and four steals. Gressi had two goals as well, while six other Vaqueros scored once.
McKay finished with five saves for the third straight game, while Donleavy had an incredible second half racking up 11 saves. It was the first time a Vaquero has reached double-digit saves this season.
SBCC will play next weekend at the Rabobank Invitational hosted by Cuesta from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.