Key Conference Matchups Highlight Women's Water Polo Slate
Big West Women's Water Polo Weekly Release No. 11
With just four weeks remaining until the 2018 Women's Water Polo Tournament, conference play kicks into high gear with three key matchups on tap. Defending champion UC Irvine will host UC Santa Barbara, CSUN heads to Long Beach State and Hawai'i, owners of the league's top record, entertain UC Davis.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
‘BOWS GET ON YOU EARLY
Hawai’i has shown it is in a different class than its conference rivals this season, sprinting out to a league-best 16-4 record thanks in large part to its quick strike offense. The Rainbow Wahine have scored 110 more goals than the opposition, including a 72-18 advantage in the first period and a 135-51 advantage in the first half of contests. UH is also adept at the powerplay, converting on 49.6% (57-115) of its man advantages.
DUAL THREAT FOR THE GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara boasts two of the league’s top offensive players in Sarah Snyder and Kate Pipkin. Snyder is tied for fourth in the Big West in goals (39), while Pipkin is sixth in goals (38), tied for second in assists (29) and third in points (67). Pipkin is also 8-0 this season in sprints.
THE WALL BETWEEN THE PIPES
CSUN goalkeeper Niki Van Vugt has been a source of frustration for opposing shooters this season. She leads the Big West in saves (149) and saves per game (9.31) while also ranking eighth in save percentage (.580).
SEEMS EASY, IT ISN’T
UC Irvine has one of the league’s top first-year players in Tara Prentice. The freshman leads the team in goals (24), assists (7) and points (31) while appearing in all 18 of the Anteaters’ games. She is the only freshman leading her team in all three categories in the Big West.
REACHING NEW HIGHS
Long Beach State’s Alexandra Massier has established a new career-high in goals after each of the last two seasons, and seems to be on her way to another career best. After scoring 11 goals as a freshman, Massier put up 36 scores as a sophomore and 38 as a junior. This season she has 30 goals with at least six games left including the Big West Tournament.
The current rankings haven’t changed too much for Big West clubs but all six remain ranked in the top 25, with three in the top 10. Hawai’i leads the way at #5 with UC Irvine at #7. UC Davis sits at #10, Long Beach State #14, UC Santa Barbara is #17 and CSUN sits at #19.
This season has seen a pair of coaches reach career milestones. UC Irvine’s Dan Klatt became the first coach in league history to reach the 200 win plateau when the Anteaters downed CSUN in conference action. UCI was also involved in the other coaching milestone in a loss to Hawai’i. The Rainbow Wahine victory gave coach Maureen Cole win No. 100 for her career.