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Women's Water Polo

24-0 Vaqueros Have Best Start in Program History after Sweep in Long Beach

Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography
Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography

LONG BEACH, CA – The #1-ranked Santa Barbara City College Women's Water Polo team passed another milestone this weekend at Long Beach City College's Battle of the Beach tournament, sweeping the weekend to improve to 24-0. That's good for the best start in school history, beating the previous record of 22 straight wins to start the season set by the 2016 team.

"Incredibly proud of our team," head coach Chuckie Roth said. "Everyone contributes. The team is improving and getting better every day."

In game one on Friday against Palomar, the Vaqueros showed their prowess. After being up 5-0 at the end of the first quarter and 8-0 at halftime, SBCC cruised to a 16-2 victory.

Sofia Paez led the team with 4 goals, while Natalie Mancinelli, Cate Daland, and Maddie Myers each had 2. Lily Carrick continued to be an assist machine with 4, while Addie Lane, Gabi Turnbull, and Taylor Classen each had 2.

Caroline Oates continued to be solid on defense with 5 steals. Classen and Turnbull swiped 3 steals, while Carrick, Myers, Gabrielle Muehring, and Erin Otsuki had 2.

Freshman goalie Kate Densmore had 17 saves, tied for second-most in a single match with Zoe Johnson in 2019. Densmore's 21-save effort against San Joaquin Delta two weeks ago is the record.

There was no slowing down for Santa Barbara in game two against Fullerton, as another offensive barrage carried the Vaqueros to another win.

After a 3-2 lead to end the first quarter, something sparked the Vaqueros—they scored 7 times in the second quarter with 7 different players scoring and/or assisting. SBCC would hold a 10-3 lead going into the break.

The third quarter was no letup of the gas pedal, as 5 different goalscorers scored 5 goals (with 2 assists from Lily Carrick). The final score would be 16-5.

Addie Lane contributed 4 goals to lead the team, while defender Caroline Oates crept forward a tad more to score 3. Natalie Mancinelli scored 2 goals for the second consecutive match, and Gabi Turnbull also scored twice. Mancinelli played well defensively, too, with 4 steals.

Lily Carrick had another incredible all-around match. The freshman from Australia is emerging as one of the most valuable players in the CCCAA. She led the team with 6 assists, tied for second-most in a single match in SBCC history. Oh, and she had 5 steals, leading the team.

After the two wins Friday, the Vaqueros were 22-0, tying the 2016 team for best start to a season in program history. They also had won "group A" in the tournament and were due for what was essentially the semifinal against Sierra the following day. Sierra came into the match 16-3, with one of their losses coming at the hands of SBCC back on September 23.

The Vaqueros were up for the task. The first quarter was all SBCC, as Lily Carrick scored twice and assisted twice, Maddie Myers scored twice, Claire Daland and Addie Lane netted a goal apiece, and Kate Densmore offered an assist. The 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter parlayed itself into an 8-1 lead at halftime.

Cate Daland and Claire scored in just over a minute from each other in the third quarter, and Natalie Mancinelli scored in the fourth to cap off her third straight multi-goal performance. The final score was 11-5 after two Sierra goals in the last minute.

The defensive numbers are of note in game three, as 6 Vaqueros had 3 or more steals: Natalie Mancinelli (5), Claire Daland (5), Caroline Oates (4), Lily Carrick (4), Gabi Turnbull (3), and Kate Densmore (3).

"Gabi Turnbull played a really smart weekend," Roth said.

Offensively, the Vaqueros were balanced, with 5 different goalscorers with 2 goals: Mancinelli, Carrick, Maddie Myers, Claire Daland, and Cate Daland.

Lily Carrick took it easy with 3 assists this match to lead the team.

With the win, the Vaqueros had just beaten the previous school record by starting 23-0, but the undefeated season was quickly going to be challenged in the championship game by 20-2 Riverside. Riverside's only two losses this season had come against SBCC.

In round three of a matchup that is looking more and more like a possible preview of a state championship game, the Vaqueros defense anchored down.

Addie Lane assisted Claire Daland midway through the first quarter, and less than a minute later, Lily Carrick netted a goal herself. The 2-0 score would hold going into the second quarter.

Riverside scored two goals in 30 seconds towards the beginning of the second quarter to tie the game. The Vaqueros answered quickly, as Sofia Paez dished to Claire Daland 30 seconds after that to re-gain the lead, 3-2. Addie Lane buried a 5-meter later in the quarter to make it 4-2, but Riverside answered back also 30 seconds later, ending the half at 4-3 SBCC.

Riverside scored quickly out of the break, and the score was tied 4-4 for a decent stretch of the third quarter before Claire Daland took over. 2 goals from her to end the quarter, one unassisted, one dealt by Lily Carrick, meant the Vaqueros held a more comfortable 6-4 lead going into the final frame.

Caroline Oates netted a clutch goal with a clutch assist from Carrick once again to give the Vaqueros a 7-4 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Riverside would answer back with a goal shortly after, but that would be all the scoring in the match as SBCC held on to win 7-5.

"A great test in mental toughness in this one," assistant coach Paige Treloar-Ballard said.

"We showed a lot of resilience today," Roth said proudly. "We were a little shorthanded with personnel, but we stepped up in several ways."

Claire Daland, along with the pivotal 4 goals, also had 3 steals and 3 exclusions drawn.

"Maddie Myers had one of the best weekends of her career," Roth said. Against Riverside, she led the team with 5 steals.

"Caroline Oates played great, and Addie Lane and Lily Carrick made lots of little plays," Roth concluded. Oates had 2 steals with a goal, Lane had a goal and assist, and Carrick had the final 2 assists with 4 steals, 3 exclusions drawn, and a goal.

It was the first time all season the Vaqueros did not score 10 or more goals as a team, but the 5 Riverside goals are the lowest SBCC had allowed to them in the three games played. Kate Densmore remained solid in goal with 8 saves. She had more saves than goals allowed in each of the 4 games on the weekend.

The unbeaten Vaqueros play their final regular season matches at home at Dos Pueblos High School next weekend for the SBCC Halloween Tournament. They open with West Valley at 4:30 PM on Friday, before Cabrillo at 6:00. Saturday is a fun slate of games, beginning against UCSB Club A at 8:00 AM, then LA Valley at 12:15 PM and Cal State Northridge at 2:45.

Come out and support this phenomenal team!