The rivalry between Long Beach State and UC Irvine hits the pool this weekend as the clubs battle in a key women't water polo league contest. The winner of the matchup will grab the third seed at next week's Big West Tournament.
The teams have had their fair share of close battles over the years, including last year's Big West Tournament final which was won by UCI on a shot at the buzzer in overtime.
AROUND THE BIG WEST
HAWAI’I CLAIMS OUTRIGHT CROWN
Hawai’i won a pair of conference games last weekend to end league play at 5-0 and earning it the outright regular season title. This marks the first time that the ‘Bows have earned the outright regular season championship and earned them the top seed at next week’s Big West Tournament. The only other time that UH was the top seed at the league tourney, it won the 2013 event at UC Irvine. This year’s host? UC Irvine.
QUEEN OF THE GOALS
CSUN senior Madeleine Sanchez reached the mountain top in the scoring category last week, becoming the all-time leading scorer in Big West history. Sanchez scored three goals against Hawai’i to push her career total to 226, passing former UCI scorer Jessy Cardey who tallied 224 from 2011-14.
AGGIES EARN SECOND SEED
UC Davis claimed second place in the Big West to notch the #2 seed in the Big West Tournament. This marks the first time since 2012 that the Aggies have earned the second slot. That season UCD made it to the championship game of the Tournament, falling to UC Irvine.
IN GOAL FOR THE BEACH
Long Beach State has a chance at the third seed in the Tournament and goalkeeper Eirini Patras has played her part. The keeper owns a 6.33 goals against average and has recorded 104 saves across 21 games.
With one week left in the regular season, a couple of Big West teams have moved around in the rankings. Hawai’i leads the way at #5, while UC Irvine and UC Davis flip-flopped from last week to rank eighth and ninth, respectively. UC Santa Barbara moved up one spot to #16 with Long Beach State right behind them at #17. CSUN stayed steady at #20 to complete the league schools in the rankings.
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.