The No. 2 Cal women’s water polo team lost its first two games of the year this weekend at the Stanford Invitational, giving an underwhelming performance for the second straight year at the elite tournament held in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Bears came into the Invitational with high hopes of making it to the championship match to face No. 1 Stanford. However, Cal’s hopes were dashed early on when the squad lost its first game of the season to No. 4 UCLA in the second round.
The Bears (11-2, 1-0 in the MPSF) began the tournament strong, defeating No. 12 Michigan, 9-7 , on Saturday. Behind nine saves from junior goalie Lindsay Dorst and three goals from sophomore Ashley Young, Cal was able to bury the Wolverines 2-1 in the final period to secure the victory.
The Bears had a quick turnaround and came face-to-face with a tough Bruins squad. Just like last year, Cal fell to UCLA at the same invite in the match for third place.
The contest against the Bruins was a back-and-forth defensive struggle, with neither team finding success on the offensive side of the ball. UCLA was able to claw its way to a two-goal lead after the first quarter. Cal slowly fought its way back into contention, holding the Bruins scoreless in both the second and third quarters while netting one goal in each period.
Despite the comeback, UCLA broke the 2-2 tie in the fourth period by outscoring the Bears 2-1 and nabbing a 4-3 win.
With a night of rest, the Bears came back out to the pool early Sunday morning to face No. 10 Hawaii for the second time in four days. In Cal’s 8-4 victory, Young singlehandedly matched the scoring output of the Rainbow Wahine in the contest, scoring a match-high four goals.
After posting a 2-1 record in the early games of the tournament, Cal found itself matching up against No. 3 USC for the third-place game.
An evenly-matched first quarter was quickly forgotten after the Trojans came out firing in the second, outplaying the Bears on both sides of the ball and outscoring them, 4-1. With control of the contest, USC cruised to an easy 10-5 win despite three goals from Breda Vosters and seven saves from Dorst.
With a disappointing 2-2 record at the Stanford Invite and a loss in the third-place match, history repeated itself for the second straight year for the Bears.