April 23, 2010
LONG BEACH - Junior Katie Kepner lofted a shot into the upper left corner of the net with 2:12 left in sudden victory overtime to lift UC Santa Barbara to a 15-14 triumph over Long Beach State in a Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament first round game Friday.
The third-seeded Gauchos led 13-12 with 1:43 to go in regulation, but Krizia Cerda had four goals in the fourth period to keep the No. 6 seed 49ers alive. Her fourth goal with 54 seconds to play tied the score and sent the game into overtime.
UCSB took a 14-13 lead on a goal by Nancy Ruano with just three seconds remaining in the first 3-minute overtime. The 49ers knotted the score in the second extra period on a goal by Lauren Sieprath with 2:19 to go and that set up the sudden victory showdown.
Kepner and freshman Shelby Haroldson led the Gauchos with three goals apiece. Claire Buchanan, Kathryn Nelson and Ruano chipped in two goals each to pace UCSB's attack.
Ruth Milne paced UCSB's defense with 20 saves in the cage, including five key stops in the overtime periods.
Long Beach State held a 6-5 edge at halftime, but UCSB came out with a vengeance in the third period. The Gauchos outscored LBSU 6-2 in that stanza to enter the fourth quarter with an 11-8 advantage.
However, the 49ers reeled off four straight goals, the last coming at the 4:12 mark of the fourth period by Cerda to knot the score at 11-11. The score was tied again at 12-12, 13-13 and 14-14, before setting up the heroics by Kepner.
UCSB improves to 18-10 on the year and advances to Saturday's second semifinal at 5:45 p.m. against No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge. LBSU falls to 8-20 and meets UC Davis on Sunday at noon in the fifth place game.
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