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No. 7 SDSU Water Polo Splits at Michigan Kick-Off

The Aztecs defeated No. 9 San Jose State at the Michigan Kick-Off.
The Aztecs defeated No. 9 San Jose State at the Michigan Kick-Off.

Jan. 19, 2013

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Seventh-ranked San Diego State opened 2013 at the Michigan Kick-Off and split its first two games of the season. SDSU dropped a 12-8 decision to No. 3 UCLA and returned to the pool later in the day to defeat No. 9 San Jose State, 10-9.

In the game against the Bruins, the Aztecs allowed UCLA to score the first three goals of the game before Juliana Matos dented the scoreboard with less than two minutes left in the first quarter.

The scoring picked up in the second quarter as nine total goals were scored. The Bruins increased their lead to four with a pair of goals, but Matos put a stop to the run with her second of the game. SDSU turned the momentum into another goal when Bailey Wickliffe scored her first of her career and the Aztecs found themselves down, 5-3. UCLA, however, countered with three consecutive goals before San Diego State ended the half with goals by Amber Pezzolla and Anique Hermann.

The Bruins continued their trend of scoring first in each quarter in the third to take a 9-5 lead, but Pezzolla erased the goal with her second of the afternoon. San Diego State could not keep UCLA off the scoreboard as it found the back of the cage twice to extend its lead over the Aztecs to 11-6. Then as time expired, Matos recorded a hat trick with her third of the contest to bring SDSU to within 11-7.

In the fourth and final quarter, UCLA struck first before Wickliffe tickled the nylon for a second time with 3:45 left in regulation. The freshman's goal ended up being the last goal scored as the Bruins earned the four-goal decision.

Later, San Diego State returned to the pool to face the Spartans and found itself in an early 2-0 hole. Samantha Voigt put a stop to the early SJSU offense with her first of the season with 2:20 left in the first quarter. Voigt's goal triggered what would be a quarter-ending 4-0 run and the Aztecs went into the second period ahead, 4-2.

Pezzolla made it a 5-0 spurt after she scored the quarter's first goal, but two San Jose State goals cut the Aztec lead to 5-4. Then in the final 1:07 of the half, Tori Long and Taelor Moreno each notched goals to propel SDSU to a 7-4 lead at the mid-game break.

In the second half, the San Diego State offense was held in check and SJSU took full advantage to make it a game in the closing stages. In the third quarter, the Spartans outscored the Aztecs, 2-1, with the lone SDSU goal courtesy of Pezzola, and the Scarlet and Black went into the final eight minutes up, 8-6.

SJSU cut it to a one-goal game with just over five minutes left, but San Diego State answered with a Matos goal with just over four minutes to play. The Spartans and Aztecs traded goals down the stretch and SDSU led 10-8 with 2:17 left. San Jose State scored moments later to get within one, but San Diego State was able to hold off any Spartan threat the final two minutes to earn its first win of the new season.

True freshman Rachel Mitchell earned her first two starts of her career and finished with 22 saves. In the UCLA game, Mitchell stopped nine shots and then came up with 13 saves against San Jose State.

SDSU will put the finishing touches on the Michigan Kick-Off on Sunday when it plays two more games. At 9:10 a.m. ET, the Aztecs will face No. 14 Indiana before taking on the 11th-ranked Wolverines at 12:15 p.m. ET.

No. 3 UCLA 12, No. 7 San Diego State 8

SDSU 1-4-2-1--8
UCLA 3-5-3-1--12

SDSU Goals: Matos 3, Pezzolla 2, Wickliffe 2, Hermann
UCLA Goals: Fattal 3, Donohoe 3, Naranjo 2, Williams, McLaren, Ronimus, Greenwood
Saves: Mitchell - 9 (SDSU), Hill - 8 (UCLA)

No. 7 San Diego State 10, No. 9 San Jose State 9

SJSU 2-2-2-3--9
SDSU 4-3-1-1--10

SJSU Goals: Lekness 2, Smith 2, Natalizio 2, Molnar, Seyfert, Brazell
SDSU Goals: Pezzola 4, Voigt 2, Long 2, Moreno, Matos
Saves: Reardon - 7 (SJSU), Mitchell - 13 (SDSU)