Long Beach 8
UC Irvine 13
When the UC Irvine women’s water polo holds a lead heading into halftime, they are unbeatable.
Long Beach State learned this lesson the hard way on Thursday night, losing to the Anteaters 13-8 at Anteater Aquatics Complex.
UCI jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first quarter when senior Jackie Prine scored two quick goals for the Anteaters.
Long Beach cut the deficit on two separate occassions, with a three goal difference at 4-1 and 6-3, before the Anteaters closed out the half with an all-important 7-3 lead.
The beginning of the second half brought out the best in the Anteaters as they scored three straight goals to build an insurmountable 10-3 lead.
The Anteaters’ record when they enter halftime with the lead is 12-0, due in large part to the team’s defense, which prevented its opponents from scoring late in games.
A large part of that has to do with UCI’s defense, led by junior goalkeeper Lauren Machanis.
Machanis clamped down in the second half and recorded 13 saves on the night.
On the offensive end, UCI rebounded from its less-than-stellar scoring performance in the past two games.
In their two losses against San Diego State and Arizona State, the Anteaters’ combined to score just 11 goals.
Scoring was no problem against Long Beach as six different Anteaters scored goals with Prine leading the way with four.
Senior Robyn Kaake, sophomore Gianna Rossi, junior Alli Russell and sophomore Julia Fanceher all added two goals apiece. Junior Jessica Lewis scored one goal.
The following day, the women’s team took on Loyola Marymount University for the second time this season.
UCI had already faced Loyola early in the year, losing in heartbreaking fashion 8-7 in double overtime.
The story was the same for the Anteaters this time as well, as they fell to Loyola 11-9 in a close match on Friday night.
The third period proved to be detrimental to UCI as LMU pushed a 6-5 halftime advantage to a 10-6 lead.
There was no quit in the Anteaters, however, as they started the fourth period with an aggressive offense, scoring three straight goals to cut the LMU lead to 10-9.
Loyola held on for the win as it received a late goal with just over one minute remaining for the final 11-9 victory.
Russell led UCI with three goals scored while Kaake and Prine scored two goals each.
UCI will close out the regular season on the road next week when it faces Arizona State on April 26 at 3:20 p.m.