No. 12 Water Polo Edges No. 21 LMU on the Road, 7-6
March 25, 2017
LOS ANGELES -
No. 12 San Diego State found itself in the same position as Friday and came away with the same result in defeating 21st-ranked LMU, 7-6, at Burns Aquatics Center in Los Angeles. The decision kept the Aztecs’ Golden Coast Conference sheet clean at 4-0 (13-9 overall) and dropped the Lions to 9-12 (1-1 GCC).
Less than 24 hours earlier, SDSU trailed T-No. 25 California Baptist on the road by three goals in the first half and eventually rallied for the victory with the winner coming from Ioli Benekou.
Today, the Aztecs trailed LMU on the road by three goals in the first half and eventually rallied for the victory with the winner coming from Ioli Benekou.
San Diego State made an early statement, scoring on its first possession after Makena Magro won the sprint and Caroline Israels found the back of the net. The Lions’ answered thanks to Caitlin Schafter, but Courtney Jarvis put SDSU back out in front with less than 90 seconds to play.
Loyola Marymount ended the first quarter with another Shafer goal and went on to notch two more goals in the first three minutes of the second. Alyssa Diacono put an end to the Lions’ 3-0 run with her only goal of the afternoon only to have LMU score twice more to move ahead, 6-3. Then in a bit of good fortune, the Aztecs were able to covert a power play just head of the halftime buzzer when Hannah Carrillo supplied SDSU’s fourth goal to make it a 6-4 game.
In the second half, the San Diego State defense took center stage and was able to generate enough offense to complete the rally.
The first four-plus minutes of the third quarter was a defensive showcase as neither offensive unit was able to solve its counterpart. Benekou, however, sliced SDSU’s deficit in half with an even-strength goal with 2:51 left. Then with 32 seconds remaining in the frame, Carrillo connected with Magro on a 6-on-5 goal to send the Aztecs into the final eight minutes tied, just like their game on Friday with the Lancers.
Both defenses turned up the intensity in the fourth quarter and it appeared neither team would tickle the twine as the minutes ticked off the clock. When the timer dipped beneath 2:30, Benekou found an opening and put her shot past LMU goalkeeper Sky Flores to move the visitors out in front.
The Aztecs continued to execute on defense and had to dig deep in the final moments. After Magro’s shot was stopped by Flores, the Lions called timeout to set up a play with 29 seconds left. LMU could not find anything against SDSU, but was able to draw an exclusion with five seconds left and called timeout again. The Lions’ last-second attempt, however, did not bear fruit and the Aztecs emerged with the decision.
Benekou led San Diego State with two goals and shared game-high honors with Carrillo as both had four steals. Carrillo, Diacono, Israels, Jarvis and Magro all scored once, while Kate McDonnell racked up five saves in net.
SDSU, which is now 23-0 all-time in Golden Coast play, will return to action on Thursday, March 30, when it faces UCLA at the Hawai’i Invitational. First sprint in Honolulu is set for 7:15 p.m. HT.