No. 12 Water Polo’s Rally Falls Short in Loss to No. 5 UCI

March 16, 2017

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No. 12 San Diego State got a late defensive stop to put it in position to tie the game, but ultimately fell to fifth-ranked UC Irvine, 9-7, Thursday afternoon at Aztec Aquaplex. The loss snapped SDSU’s four-game winning streak and dropped it to 9-8 on the year.

Makena Magro helped the Aztecs close to within one goal at 8-7 when she scored on a power-play feed from Hannah Carrillo with 1:49 left in the game. On the other end, SDSU forced the Anteaters into committing an offensive foul, which gave the Aztecs a chance to level the score. Caroline Israels’ attempt with under a minute to play, however, was blocked and UCI added an insurance goal from Cambria Shockley to seal the victory for the visitors.

The Aztecs mounted a comeback that put them in position to win late in the game after suffering through a scoring drought in the second quarter.

Goals from Ioli Benekou and Israels in the first period helped San Diego State enter the next frame tied at 2-2. The second UCI goal in the first quarter, which was recorded by Shockley, was the start of a 4-0 Anteater run. Scoring in the period for UC Irvine was Mary Brooks (twice) and Kelsey Thornton. The duo’s effort on offense, coupled with UCI’s defense, kept the Aztecs off the scoreboard, leading to a 5-2 disadvantage for San Diego State.

The third quarter saw SDSU slice its deficit to a pair of goals after outscoring UCI, 3-2. Shelby Kraft scored off an assist from Courtney Jarvis, Hannah Carrillo was successful on a 6-on-5 opportunity and Paola Vizcarra was set up nicely by Magro. In between each of San Diego State’s goals was an Anteater answer, sending the teams to the final frame with UCI ahead, 7-5.

In the final quarter, Benekou cut San Diego State’s deficit in half with her cross-cage goal with 5:38 to play only to have UC Irvine recapture its two-goal cushion almost three minutes later. Just over 60 seconds had passed before the aforementioned Magro goal set up the final moments that would decide the game.

Kate McDonnell, who made a handful of fantastic saves and gave SDSU a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter, finished with eight saves.

San Diego State will now travel to Fresno Pacific for a 6 p.m. PT game on Friday. The Aztecs are in search of their second Golden Coast victory in as many tries.

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