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Women's Water Polo

Make It 15: Unbeaten Vaqueros Have Best Start since 2016

Addie Lane (Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Addie Lane (Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – The Santa Barbara City College Women's Water Polo team continued their undefeated season this weekend at the 24th Mechanic's Bank Invitational, going 4-0 in the tournament hosted by Cuesta College.

Now 15-0, SBCC capped off a perfect month of September and has its best start since 2016, when they began 22-0.

"All in all, each game is a true team effort," head coach Chuckie Roth said. "We have a good balance, and everyone makes impacts."

Match one on Friday against Cuesta went much like the match between the two teams earlier in the season: all Vaqueros. After the first quarter ended 1-1, the Vaqueros erupted for 6-0 and 4-1 second and third quarters runs, respectively. The final score was 12-3 SBCC.

"Freshman Erin Otsuki had the best game of her career," Roth said. "She works hard every day and it's fun to watch it translate into games."

Otsuki, Addie Lane, and Gabrielle Muehring all had 2 goals for a box score that had 9 different Vaquero goalscorers. Caroline Oates, Cate Daland, Taylor Classen, and Tayten Neiderhiser all had a goal and an assist.

Match two was a heavyweight battle—the #1-ranked Vaqueros (12-0) versus #2-ranked Riverside City (10-1), a rematch of Riverside's only loss, an 11-10 thriller against SBCC at Riverside two weeks prior.

It was a steady barrage for the Vaqueros, who led the entirety of the match from the first goal. The first quarter ended 2-1, and SBCC was up 6-2 before Riverside scored 2 goals in the final three minutes of the half.

A clutch third quarter led by Cate Daland, Gabrielle Muehring, and Lily Carrick, all scoring their second goals of the match, meant the Vaqueros were up 9-5 heading into the fourth quarter. The defense would close it out with a final score of 10-7.

"A very physical game!" added assistant coach Paige Treloar-Ballard. "The team did a great job of staying positive and motivated."

"Everyone makes big plays and impacts the team," Roth said. "A great example of this is Sofia Paez, who had 2 clutch steals in the last two-and-a-half minutes."

Caroline Oates led the team with 6 steals and was the fourth multi-goal scoring Vaquero with a goal to ice the match in the fourth quarter.

Echoing Roth's quotes of depth and balance, Freshman Cate Daland had a great match of overall play with 2 goals and an assist. Addie Lane similarly had a balanced performance with a goal, an assist, and 3 steals. Lily Carrick was phenomenal, with a stat line of 2 goals, 1 assist, 5 steals, and 3 exclusions drawn. Maddie Myers also had 3 exclusions drawn and a steal.

Freshman goalie Kate Densmore had two assists on the day, one in each match and her first since the first match of the season. She continued her stellar season, compiling 17 saves while allowing just 10 goals.

Day two as a whole looked like a difficult task on paper for the Vaqueros. SBCC was slated to play #7 Long Beach early at 8:00 AM, then #4 Saddleback immediately after at 9:30.

Despite the daunting task, the Vaqueros came out strong, as they habitually do. Once again, quarter-to-quarter, SBCC was resilient and consistent, outscoring Long Beach in three out of four quarters and drawing the one they did not win.

The first quarter was back-and-forth. Just over a minute in, the Vaqueros jumped out to a 2-0 lead via goals from Caroline Oates and Gabi Turnbull before Long Beach quickly scored 3 goals in three minutes. SBCC settled in, scoring 2 goals to end the quarter 4-3.

Long Beach scored to begin the second quarter, but 2 goals, again, to end the quarter meant SBCC was headed to halftime up 6-4, again.

SBCC held steady in the second half, trading goals with Long Beach but never giving up the lead. The closest the score got was 8-7 late in the third quarter before Lily Carrick dished an assist to Addie Lane. Carrick then assisted Gabrielle Muehring to open the scoring in the fourth, and the Vaqueros cruised to an 11-8 victory.

Addie Lane was incredible, accounting for 7 goals (5 scored, 2 assisted) and 2 steals. Gabrielle Muehring had a goal, an assist, and also 2 steals. Natalie Mancinelli scored 2 goals, as well.

In the second match of the back-to-back, the Vaqueros showed no signs of a letdown. Addie Lane continued her prolific goalscoring day, scoring twelve seconds into the match. The score at the end of the first quarter was 4-2.

The Vaqueros defense dominated in the second quarter, not allowing a goal. Going into halftime, SBCC led 6-2.

Right out of the break, Esther Sullivan set the tone, scoring twenty seconds in and increasing the lead to 7-2. Saddleback never got within 3 goals from there, and SBCC had themselves another perfect weekend, winning the final match 11-7.

"Today was a great challenge for us," Roth said. "We were led offensively by Addie Lane, Natalie Mancinelli, and Cate Daland pushing on counterattack. Lily Carrick led in steals and defensive plays made."

Carrick had 3 steals and 2 exclusions drawn. Cate Daland had 3 goals and added an assist. Natalie Mancinelli scored 2 goals, and Addie Lane and Maddie Myers each had 2 steals and a goal. Caroline Oates had a goal, a steal, and 2 exclusions drawn.

The stout Vaqueros defensive schemes continue to pay dividends in front of stalwart goalie Kate Densmore. SBCC has scored double-digit goals in every game this season while allowing double-digit goals only twice.

SBCC will continue its unbeaten season next weekend at the Ventura College Tournament, before a home match against Ventura on October 11 at Santa Barbara High School.