Champions Once Again
UCI 12 CSUN 11
The Lady Anteaters proved that rankings don’t mean much — all that matters is the final score of the match.
The UCI women’s water polo team defeated No. 2 seed Cal State Northridge by a close score of 12-11, to win its second consecutive Big West Water Polo Tournament title Sunday at Long Beach State’s Campus Pool.
UCI freshman Jessy Cardey was named Tournament MVP and scored three goals, including the game winner, in the championship match.
Cal State Northridge came into the match-up with a school record 28 wins and they had only lost eight games the entire year. UCI was only 15-14 overall, but played tough the whole year and played at a higher level in the Big West Tournament.
Both teams were tied 8-8 midway through the third period when UCI made a late push. Junior Cortney Collyer scored back-to-back goals at 3:23 and 1:57 to put UCI up 10-8. Then senior Kat Plummer scored her only goal of the game just 38 seconds into the fourth period to push the lead to 11-8.
Whitney Delegado scored her fifth goal for CSUN with 5:29 on the clock, but Cardey answered with a goal to put UCI back up by three. Northridge scored twice late in a desperation push, but ran out of time. As soon as the match finished, UCI coaches and players dived into the pool to celebrate the championship win.
UCI and CSUN combined for 15 goals in the first half alone. UCI led at halftime by a score of 8-7. The Anteaters established their biggest leads at 5-2, 7-4 and 8-5, but Northridge closed the gap each time in the first half.
Collyer had four goals for UCI. Erin Kiene chipped in with two of her own and goalie Morgan Vickers tallied six saves.
UCI 10 Pacific 7
UCI got to the championship match by upsetting the No. 1 seed, Pacific, 10-7 in the semifinals of the Big West Championship at Pacific.
UCI led 2-1 after the first period. Pacific tied the match at 2-2 with 4:51 left in the second period as Tiger Meara McCarthy scored a goal. The Anteaters responded by going on a 3-1 run to close out the period and take a 5-3 lead at halftime.
Both teams scored two goals apiece in the third frame of the match. UCI went into the final period up 7-5.
Sophomore Katie Croghan put UC Irvine up 8-5 19 seconds into the fourth. Both sides would alternate goals for the rest of the games as UCI came up with a response to each Pacific goal scored.
“Going into the game, you just have to think about who you are playing with, not really their titles and what they have accomplished. You have to go in thinking what we have accomplished. We’ve taken down some big teams this year. This was our game to go for and we did it,” junior Caitilin Haskell said.
The Anteaters were led by Collyer, Cardey and Haskell, who each had two goals. Sophomore keeper Morgan Vickers had seven saves for UCI.