Top Two Seeds To Meet In Women's Water Polo Championship Match
Links associated with this release:
2012 Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament Central
No. 1 UCI vs. No. 4 CSUN Scoresheet
No. 2 UCD vs. No. 3 UCSB Scoresheet
Top-seeded UC Irvine and second-seeded UC Davis each captured semifinal wins on the second day of the Big West Conference women's water polo tournament at Schaal Aquatics Center, earning spots in Sunday's championship game. The Anteaters rolled to an 8-3 win over Cal State Northridge in the earlier contest, then the host Aggies eked out a 7-5 overtime victory against UC Santa Barbara in the night cap.
UCI, ranked sixth nationally, improves to 23-6 for the season. UC Davis, tied for 10th in the country, moves to 18-12 overall and 10-0 at home. UCSB, now 20-14, was tied for 15th in Wednesday's national coaches' poll while the 18-20 Matadors were 19th.
Top-Seeded UC Irvine Cruises Into Big West Championship Game
Top-seeded UC Irvine converted five 6-on-5 opportunities in claiming an 8-3 victory over Cal State Northridge in Saturday's first semifinal contest. Reigning conference Player of the Year Jessy Cardey performed a hat trick while goalkeeper Jillian Yocum tallied nine saves to lead the Anteaters.
Heidi Pettinger posted two of the Matadors' three goals for the game.
UCI scored three unanswered goals in the first four minutes of play before Lindsy Nelson's power play ended the CSUN scoring drought at the 3:23 mark in the first. Hillary Estrada netted a weakside lob late in the first period and Cardey scored from outside, helping the 'Eaters hold a 5-2 halftime lead.
Irvine converted three more 6-on-5 opportunities in the third period to pull away to the victory. This is the Anteaters' fourth trip to the Big West title game in as many years. They have won all three tournament championships in conference history.
No. 2 Seed UC Davis Downs No. 3 UC Santa Barbara In Overtime
Senior Ariel Feeney scored two goals and assisted on three others -- including the game-winner by senior Lyndsay Sutterley -- in leading the second-seeded host UC Davis to a 7-5 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's second semifinal contest.
Junior Jessica Dunn had two goals and junior goalkeeper Riane Woods tallied 12 saves for the Aggies. Junior Bryce Winton and sophomore Molly Hafferkamp led the Gauchos with a pair of goals each.
UC Davis had scored three straight goals in the third quarter to take a 5-1 lead after 24 minutes of play, only to surrender four unanswered to UCSB in the fourth to force extra frames. Neither team scored in the first three-minute overtime segment, then Feeney's cross pass found an open Sutterley on a 6-on-5 chance with two minutes remaning. Sutterley fired in the go-ahead, then senior Dakotah Mohr delivered an assist to Dunn on the weakside for an insurance goal with 1:20 left.
Feeney scored the game's first goal with two minutes remaining in the first, then assisted Elsie Fullerton for the 2-0 lead early in the second. Another local product, freshman Keelia Houston, came through for UC Davis with a field block against a Gaucho 6-on-5 shot in the final minute before halftime. Feeney also had an assist and goal in the Aggies' 3-0 third quarter.
However, UCSB stormed back in the fourth quarter. Hafferkamp hit an outside shot at the 4:27 mark, then scored on a rebound-and-putback chance with 1:39 to go to cut the lead to 5-4. The Gauchos tied the contest when Winton's skip shot landed inside the far post with 45 seconds remaining.
The Aggies drew up one final go-ahead chance in regulation but junior Ruth Milne was there for one of her eight saves.
This is UC Davis' first trip to the Big West Conference championship game. Sunday's title game takes place at 2 p.m. CSUN and UCSB will square off for the third-place game while Pacific and Long Beach State meet up for the fifth-place game in Sunday's 10:30 opener.