No. 14 SDSU Water Polo Defeats Alumni, 15-14

Jan. 21, 2017

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SAN DIEGO - The No. 14 San Diego State water polo team defeated the Alumni, 15-14, on a mixed-weather Saturday morning at Aztec Aquaplex. The Alumni tied the game at 14 with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but freshman Shelby Kraft scored with 1.7 seconds left to lift the current Aztecs to their third straight alumni game win.

The Alumni entered the final period trailing, 11-10, and each side traded three goals to make it 14-13 entering the final three minutes. San Diego State goalkeeper Montana Jackson was given an ejection with 2:30 left in the game, giving way to a trio of Aztecs forming a wall between the pipes. Without its primary backstop, the SDSU wall came up strong, denying two consecutive attempts by the Alumni to preserve its one-goal cushion.

As the clock dipped under 30 seconds, San Diego State graduate Sarah Brady (2008-11) found the back of the net with 22 seconds remaining to level the score. With a chance to take the last shot, the Aztecs did not disappoint as the ball was worked around the perimeter and ended in Delaney Parks’ hands. The freshman dumped a pass into Kraft, who provided the go-ahead goal with 1.7 seconds left. The Alumni’s final heave was not close and the Aztecs hopped out of the pool with the decision.

The game started on a solid note for the current student-athletes with Alyssa Diacono scoring twice in the first 2:20 and Courtney Jarvis adding another to give SDSU a 3-0 lead. Tayla Walsh (2016), who helped the Aztecs to both GCC titles last season, answered right back with a pair of goals at set to cut into San Diego State’s lead. The Aztecs, however, outscored the Alumni, 3-1, in the final three minutes to take a 6-3 lead.

The former Aztecs clawed their way back into the game over the next two quarters. In the second frame, SDSU’s Caroline Israels bookended three Alumni goals to keep San Diego State ahead, 8-6. The Alumni received single goals from Susan Stivers (2004-06), four-time GCC champion and 2016 NCAA participant Nikole Ferrari (2013-16) and Walsh, who was also a member of the 2016 NCAA squad.

In the third quarter, the Alumni outscored the Aztecs, 4-3, to set up the final frame. However, before the third-period clock hit 0:00, Brooke Vessey (2008-09) scored 23 seconds in, only to have Israels and Katrina King answer with goals. Former All-American Sandy Onweller Dielman (2003-04) posted her second goal with 3:16 to go, but a minute later, Paola Vizcarra unleashed a vicious backhand to put SDSU out in front, 11-8. The Alumni closed the quarter on a strong note with a goal from both Jamie Vessey Cassidy (2007-08) and Ferrari to set the scene for the exciting finish.

The Aztecs played four different goalkeepers, one in each quarter, on the day. Kathleen McDonnell received the starting nod and made four saves, and was followed by Mauri Cantoni (2 saves), Emily Lowell (5) and Montana Jackson (3).

Heather Fenske (2007-08) was in goal for the Alumni, which was coached by former student-athlete (1996-99) and assistant coach (2006-14) Allison Gregory. Joining her on the sideline was 2016 GCC Championship MVP and All-American Rachel Mitchell (2013-16), and 2007 NCAA participant and All-American Stacy Werner (2004-07). In all, more than 25 former Aztecs were on hand for the annual contest.

SDSU officially opens the season on Saturday, Jan. 28, when it plays a doubleheader in Tempe, Arizona. The Aztecs start the campaign at Arizona State beginning at 11 a.m. MT before facing Wagner at 5 p.m. MT.

No. 14 San Diego State 15, Alumni 14
Aztec Aquaplex; San Diego, Calif.

ALUM 3-3-4-4—14
SDSU 6-2-3-4—15

ALUM goals: Tayla Walsh 3, Nikole Ferrari 2, Sandy Onweller Dielman 2, Susan Stivers Amman 2, Sarah Brady 1, Jamie Vessey Cassidy 1, Carina Carballo 1, Dominique Delgado 1, Brooke Vessey 1,
SDSU goals: Caroline Israels 5, Alyssa Diacono 2, Katrina King 2, Katy Schneider 2, Courtney Jarvis 1, Ioli Benekou 1, Shelby Kraft 1, Paola Vizcarra 1

ALUM saves: Heather Fenske – unavailable
SDSU saves: Emily Lowell 5, Kathleen McDonnell 4, Maura Cantoni 2, Montana Jackson 3

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