SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- After opening the Santa Clara Rodeo Invitational with a pair of disheartening losses, California Baptist University hoped to salvage its weekend with a pair of games against top-20 ranked opponents Saturday.
Instead, 17th-ranked CBU saw its losing streak grow to four games in a 13-3 loss to No. 11 UC Davis in the morning and in its second one-goal loss in as many days to No. 19 Harvard, 11-10, in the afternoon.
The Lancers fall to 13-13, 4-9 against ranked opponents and to 0-4 in Western Water Polo Association. UC Davis and Harvard improved 8-10 and 11-11, respectively.
“When you lose, you have to take something from it," said head coach Rick Rowland. "You have to say, 'OK, these teams beat us in these areas, let's work on making improvements.' We gave up some easy goals and had some offensive letdowns this weekend. We can't make those mistakes again.”
The Lancers nearly created a wave of momentum for them to ride home with a late rally against Harvard. Down 10-6 at the end of the third quarter, CBU mounted a 4-1 run -- keyed by two of Matt Puig's team-high three goals -- in the fourth.
It fell just short, though, after the Lancers were outscored in the third quarter, 5-2.
“We've struggled in our third quarters the last two days, but we played a really good fourth quarter against Harvard,” Rowland said.
In the nightcap, CBU fell behind UC Davis, 3-0, in the first quarter but cut into the lead at halftime, 4-2, behind goals from Carnohan and Custance. A 4-1 run from UC Davis in the third frame put the Lancers in a tough hole, 8-3, going into the fourth quarter. It only got deeper, as UC Davis scored the final five goals of the contest.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities in that game, we couldn't finish at their end and they'd come back, counter our missed shot and finish at our end,” Rowland said. “UC Davis is going to make a run at a conference title, they looked really good and have probably played more top-20 teams than anybody.”
Joseph Moorman continued his strong play in the cage for CBU in the tournament and had 11 saves in the loss.
“We have to get back to playing good defense and capitalizing on our scoring opportunities,” Rowland said. “We need to finish games and finish rallies.”
CBU will look to get its offense and defense back on the same page, as it returns home for a game against Redlands Saturday at 3:30 p.m.