Big West Conference Championship, Day 1

The Big West Conference women's water polo championship plays down to a winner on Sunday, April 29.
 
The Big West Conference women's water polo championship plays down to a winner on Sunday, April 29.
 

April 27, 2012

DAVIS, Calif. - Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara each advanced to the semifinal rounds with Friday victories over Long Beach State and Pacific, respectively, kicking off the 2012 Big West Conference Women's Water Polo Championship, hosted at UC Davis' Schaal Aquatics Center. The Matadors edged the 49ers by a 7-5 final in overtime while the Gauchos led wire-to-wire in their 9-5 victory over the Tigers.

Cal State Northridge will face top-seed UC Irvine at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. UC Santa Barbara will square off with host second-seeded UC Davis at 4:15 p.m. Pacific and Long Beach State will meet up in Sunday's fifth-place game at 10:30 a.m.

The Gauchos were ranked 15th in Wednesday's national coaches' poll while the Matadors checked in at 19th. Both the 49ers and Tigers received votes in the poll.

MATCH #1: CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE 7, LONG BEACH STATE 5 (7-5)

Freshman center Marisa Young hit a bar-in shot from two meters out with 1:38 remaining in the second overtime period to lead fourth-seeded Cal State Northridge to a 7-5 win over Long Beach State in Friday's first quarterfinal game.

Young and teammate Melissa Doll each netted two goals for the Matadors. Heather McKeon and Melissa Matheson both matched that total for the 49ers. CSUN broke the 3-3 halftime tie when the Matadors drew an exclusion in transition and Young converted the power play at the 3:16 mark. Kelcie Ferreira converted an assist from Leah Janke at the strong side to make it 5-3 with just under three minutes to go in the third, but Northridge was held scoreless throughout the fourth.

Long Beach State forced the overtime with two goals in the fourth. Matheson netted a skip shot to cut the lead to one with 2:33 remaining, then Chelsea Parks finished a 6-on-5 chance at the 1:25 mark to equalize. 49er goalkeerp Kelly Ringel stopped a pair of 6-on-5 shots in the first overtime in the only significant scoring threats for either team.

In the fourth, Young fired a shot from two meters that hit the left post, caromed off Ringel then back into the cage for the go-ahead. Perreira posted a steal on the next possession to return possesion to the Matadors, then Heidi Pettinger hit an extra-player goal to extend the lead to its final of 7-5.

 

 

MATCH #2: UC SANTA BARBARA 9, PACIFIC 5

Freshman utility Lauren Martin scored three goals while junior goalkeeper Ruth Milne tallied 11 saves against just five goals to lead third-seeded UC Santa Barbara to a 9-5 win over Pacific in the second quarterfinal matchup Friday afternoon.

Shelby Haroldson and Kacey Creek each added two goals for the Gauchos. Freshman Brydie Pye netted two goals to lead the Tigers. Pacific goalkeeper Michele Relton posted 12 saves, including six in the third quarter.

UCSB stormed to four unanswered during the first 10 minutes of play before Kim Kay flipped a Pye entry pass into the near side of the cage with exactly four minutes on the second-quarter clock. Haroldson followed with both of her goals, helping the Gauchos craft a 6-2 halftime edge.

Pye netted skip shots from either wing and Relton enjoyed her strong third quarter to help Pacific close to within a 7-5 deficit midway through the third period. But Creek's rebound-and-putback combination on a Gaucho 6-on-5 opportunity stretched the lead back to three entering the fourth.

Neither team scored for the final 3:47 in the third and for almost the entirety of the fourth. UCSB junior Katie Zakula added her team's ninth goal in the final seconds of the game.

This is the fourth installment of the Big West Conference championship for women's water polo. The tournament will play through Sunday's final, the winner of which earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Championship at San Diego State in early May.

2012 BIG WEST CONFERENCE WOMEN'S WATER POLO CHAMPIONSHIP, DAY 1
Schaal Aquatics Center (UC Davis)

Long Beach State (11-17) 2 1 0 2 0 0 - 5
Cal State Northridge (18-19) 1 2 2 0 0 2 - 7

GOALS - LBSU: Heather McKeon 2, Melissa Matheson 2, Chelsea Parks 1. CSUN: Melissa Doll 2, Marisa Young 2, Jenny Jamison 1, Kelcie Ferriera 1, Heidi Pettinger 1.

GOALIE SAVES - LBSU: Kelly Ringel 9 (38:00). CSUN: Dana Harvey 7 (38:00).

Pacific (11-16) 0 2 3 0 - 5
UC Santa Barbara (20-13) 3 3 2 1 - 9

GOALS - PACIFIC: Brydie Pye 2, Elise Martin 1, Kim Kay 1, Taylor Adair 1. UCSB: Lauren Martin 3, Shelby Haroldson 2, Kacey Creek 2, Molly Hafferkamp 1, Katie Zakula 1.

GOALIE SAVES - PACIFIC: Michele Relton 12 (32:00). UCSB: Ruth Milne 11 (32:00).