UCI Conquers the Aztecs, Bucks the Rams
UCI 12, SDSU 10
The UC Irvine women’s water polo team finished off a nail-biter against the San Diego State Aztecs at 1 p.m. in the first of two games on Saturday, March 10.
The ’Eaters began the first quarter with senior Katie Croghan scoring off a power play just over a minute into the game. This momentum carried through most of the quarter and translated into a three-point lead. However, San Diego’s Samantha Voigt scored at 1:55, followed by a changeup by Alex Ford from just inside the far post that brought the score to 3-2 with just 26 seconds left in the quarter. A missed lob shot by UCI’s Katie Croghan brought the quarter to a close.
“We started the quarter great, but then our defense … ” said ’Eaters Head Coach Dan Klatt during the team huddle, just before music came on to the speakers at the Anteater Aquatic Complex.
UCI began the second quarter with possession. The ‘Eaters Hillary Estrada capitalized on a six on five advantage after San Diego’s Meaghan Poland was excluded. This was followed shortly after by number 10, Hannah Croghan, who scored from just outside the right goal post, bringing the score to 5-2.
During the following minutes, the ’Eaters’ offense and defense began to lag. The Aztecs were able to draw a number of exclusions allowing both Anique Hermann and Leanne Ford to score. San Diego’s Amber Pezzolla scored with 2:08 remaining in the quarter, tying the game at six points.
“They’re not aware of what’s going on behind them,” said Coach Klatt after Pezzolla’s shot.
“We can’t pass the ball, we can’t attack,” he said after Taylor Morrison’s shot was saved at the end of the first half.
The pace picked up during the second half. The two teams exchanged goals until the game was tied at eight apiece.
The ’Eaters finished the quarter with a one point lead, 8-9, after Michaela Pierandozzi’s shot from the center position landed on the goal line and floated across with just 52 seconds remaining in the quarter.
UCI gained possession once again after winning the sprint at the beginning of the fourth quarter; however, a penalty called on sophomore Danielle Warde gave San Diego’s Leanne Ford a shot from the five-meter line, tying the game. A lob shot by San Diego’s Taelor Moreno at 5:57 brought the game to 10-9. Pierandozzi scored from the two-meter line during a six on five to tie the game at 10.
After a series of missed attempts on both sides, Coach Klatt called a time out with 3:41 left in the game. Sophomore Hannah Kroghan scored a bar in with two minutes left. The Aztecs’ defense was unable to stop Kroghan’s attempt at 0:54, bringing the score 12-10.
San Diego’s Amber Pezzolla stopped a shot at point blank range, and the ’Eaters played keep-away to round out the game.
“I thought it was OK overall,” Coach Klatt said after the game. “I wasn’t happy with letting [San Diego] attack the cage easily. I thought we stepped out away from them.”
UCI 17, Colorado State 4
The Anteaters capped off a perfect weekend with a 17-4 home annihilation over the Rams on Saturday night. UC Irvine are currently 16-5 overall this season and are riding on a four-game win streak.
11 different players scored for UC Irvine, including four goals from junior Annika Bergesen, three from Michaela Pierandozzi, and two from junior Kelsey Klatt.
UCI was aggressive from the start, scoring three goals in just three minutes and finished the first quarter with a 4-1 lead. The Anteaters netted four goals each in the following two quarters and capped off the final quarter with five.