No. 4 Long Beach State, No. 3 Hawai'i Advance to Play Saturday
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2014 Women's Water Polo Tournament Central
No. 4 seeded Long Beach State defeated No. 5 seed UC Santa Barbara in the first match of the Big West Tournament in a 12-7 finish. In the second match of the day, No. 3 Hawai‘i emerged victorious over No. 6 UC Davis in a close 7-6 finish.
Big West Tournament Opens With 12-7 Win For The Beach
A pair of hat tricks and some shutdown efforts on the defensive end led the Long Beach State women’s water polo team to a 12-7 win over UC Santa Barbara in the quarterfinal of the Big West Tournament. Chelsea Parks had four goals to lead the Beach and Justine Morgan had three in the win.
UC Santa Barbara took the early lead with a 6-on-5 goal from Samantha Murphy but the lead didn’t last long as Coriann Snyder rifled a shot past the goalie to tie up the match. The Beach would not trail the rest of the way as Chelsea Parks hit her first goal of the day on a five-meter shot.
Miranda Schrader tied it back up at 2-2 for UCSB in another 6-on-5 situation but Hilary Veselik redirected a pass into the net for a 3-2 Beach lead and Parks floated one in to the top right corner for a 4-2 lead after the first quarter.
Another four-goal output in the second quarter boosted LBSU’s lead to 8-4 at halftime. Morgan scored twice more for the Beach to bookend the quarter. After the Gauchos climbed back within one, Christina Kotsia found the back of the net from distance as the shot clock expired to put the lead back at two goals.
The defense stole the spotlight in the third quarter as a flurry of blocked shots combined with a save from Kelly Ringel to keep UCSB scoreless in the quarter. Meanwhile, Snyder converted a penalty shot into a goal while Parks and Leigh Auth also scored in the quarter to see the lead rise to 11-4.
With the match nearly in hand, Parks added her fourth goal of the contest early in the fourth. UCSB continued to fight and scored three late goals but were not able to climb back in the match as time ran out.
With two goals and four goals, respectively, both Snyder and Parks reached the 50-goal mark for the season.
The Beach advances to face top-seeded UC Irvine tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Campus Pool.
Women's Water Polo Wins Big West Tourney Opener
The No. 8 University of Hawai'i women's water polo team opened the 2014 Big West Tournament with a close 7-6 win over UC Davis Friday afternoon at the Long Beach State Campus Pool. With the opening round win, UH advances to the tournament semifinals where they will meet No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge on Saturday at 3:15 p.m. PT (12:15 p.m. HT).
The No. 3 seed Rainbow Wahine (18-9) played a tight match against sixth-seeded UC Davis (12-18), similar to the battle the teams waged two weeks ago in Honolulu. UH won that regular-season meeting, 5-4, and again held off a feisty Aggie squad in the closing moments.
UH built a 4-1 lead at halftime. However, UCD, cut the deficit to just one on four occasions after the break, including twice in the fourth quarter. With UH holding a 7-6 advantage, UC Davis had an opportunity in the final minute to tie the game. But as in their first meeting, the UH defense stepped up and were able to hold off UC Davis' last-ditch attempt to preserve the lead and notch the team's fifth consecutive win.
Offensively, UH was led by the two top scorers on the team, Danielle Lewis and Paula Chillida Esforzado, who each scored two goals. Emily Carr, Zoe Respondek, and Claire Nixon also found the back of the net.
The Rainbow Wahine continue its quest to repeat as Big West Tournament champs when they take on Cal State Northridge on Saturday. UH also looks to avenge a 9-8 overtime loss to the Matadors earlier this season.