SDSU Water Polo Downs UC Santa Barbara, 10-8
March 9, 2008
SAN DIEGO - Junior Erinn Greenwood (Sanger, Calif.) scored four goals on Sunday to power the sixth-ranked San Diego State water polo team past No. 17 UC Santa Barbara, 10-8, in a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation clash at the Aztec Aquaplex. SDSU raced to 5-0 lead and withstood a concerted Gaucho rally to raise its overall record to 16-2 and 3-1 in league play, while UCSB fell to 4-12 on the season and 0-6 in the MPSF.
The Scarlet and Black made things look easy early on as junior Anna Gonzales (Fresno, Calif.) notched her team-leading 40th goal on the Aztecs' opening possession. SDSU struck again on its next trip down the pool when fellow classmate Jenna Schuster (Upland, Calif.) got elevation on a pass from senior Becca Ur (Lompoc, Calif.) and tipped the ball into the net during a 6-5 opportunity. Junior Jessica Pace-Bowers (Santee, Calif.) found daylight during another man-up situation at the 2:16 mark, skipping a shot on the near side past Gaucho goalkeeper Jenny Gonzales.
The Aztecs threatened to make it a runaway in the second quarter when Greenwood and Schuster both hit pay dirt to make the score 5-0 in favor of the home team. UCSB quickly picked itself off the mat, however, scoring three straight goals over a span of 2:49 to pull within 5-3. Following a Christi Clark strike at the 4:51 mark, Gillian Morgan and Amanda Tipton converted consecutive power-play opportunities to swing the momentum in favor of the Gauchos. After a timeout, SDSU put a halt to the UCSB outburst as Schuster fed Greenwood on a nifty pump fake at the 1:21 mark. Sophomore Danielle Pelke (Los Alamitos, Calif.) then gave the Scarlet and Black a 7-3 advantage on a goal with 28 seconds left before halftime.
Both sides misfired on early opportunities in the third period until Clark recorded a pair of tallies in a 52-second span to whittle the Aztec lead down to 7-5. Shortly thereafter however, Clark committed a costly error when she interfered with the ball in play while swimming off the court during an ejection. Greenwood promptly converted the ensuing penalty shot, but UCSB shook off the miscue on its next possession when Katie Kepner scored on a power-play chance with 27 seconds remaining, which cut the margin to 8-6.
SDSU dodged a huge bullet as two Gaucho shots hit the crossbar in the opening moments of the final quarter. After regaining possession, the Aztecs worked the ball into the middle where Greenwood tossed in her fourth goal of the afternoon with one minute gone by in the period. Pelke then skipped in a penalty shot at the 4:46 mark to give the Scarlet and Black a little more breathing room at 10-6. UCSB would not go quietly as Clark and Morgan each found the back of the net to make the score 10-8 with 2:58 left. That was as close as the Gauchos would get, however, as the SDSU defense clamped down the rest of the way to preserve the hard-fought victory.
Senior goalkeeper Heather Fenske (Lompoc, Calif.) deflected four shots in front of the net, while Gonzales, Schuster and Pelke each contributed two steals apiece.
San Diego State jumps back into the pool on Friday, March 14, when Pacific visits the Aztec Aquaplex for another MPSF contest starting at noon PDT.
No. 6 SAN DIEGO STATE 10, No. 17 UC SANTA BARBARA 8
UC Santa Barbara 0-3-3-2 -- 8
SDSU goalkeeper saves: Heather Fenske 4