No. 11 Water Polo Falls to No. 18 UCSD on Senior Day, 10-6
April 22, 2017
SAN DIEGO -- The 11th-ranked San Diego State water polo team wrapped up its regular-season schedule on a sour note Saturday, falling to No. 18 UC San Diego 10-6 in the 16th annual Harper Cup game at Aztec Aquaplex as part of Senior Day festivities.
SDSU was unable to recover from a 5-1 halftime deficit, slipping to 17-12 on the season, while the Tritons raise their record to 16-14 overall.
The Aztecs were paced by senior Caroline Israels, who displayed her all-round talents with three goals, three assists, three exclusions drawn to go with a game-high four steals. In addition, SDSU received a pair of markers from sophomore Hannah Carrillo, while senior Alyssa Diacono (one goal, one assist) led all players with four drawn exclusions.
Both teams committed turnovers on their first two possessions of the game before either side took a shot. Later in the first quarter, SDSU had a chance to break out on top, but Diacono's attempt hit the crossbar, exemplifying the Scarlet and Black's frustrations on the afternoon.
With 3:08 remaining in the opening frame, UCSD finally ended the scoring drought on a goal by Lauren Boyer (2017 MVP); however, the Aztecs got the equalizer moments later when Israels converted a power-play opportunity with 2:21 to go in the period.
SDSU was unable to gain the upper hand in the second quarter, as the Tritons gave themselves some separation with four straight tallies, including two by Alexis Wieseler just over a minute apart, while Boyer followed with consecutive goals of her own to give the visitors a 5-1 advantage by intermission.
The Aztecs hit pay dirt on their initial possession of the third quarter when Diacono flipped a shot into the left corner of the net, which narrowed the gap to 5-2. SDSU had a chance to trim the margin further, but a penalty shot with 5:15 left in the period hit the lower right post and spiraled away, leaving the score unchanged.
Shortly thereafter, UCSD extended its lead when Kayla Fedler corralled a high lob from Krista Schneider and directed it into the cage, sparking a 3-1 run to end the quarter. Israels scored on a 6-on-5 opportunity during that stretch, but the Aztecs still faced an 8-3 deficit heading into the final quarter.
SDSU had a glimmer of hope in the opening minutes of the fourth period when Carrillo struck for a pair of goals on assists from Israels, which tightened the score to 8-5 with 6:44 still left on the clock. However, any designs on a comeback soon evaporated when Boyer and Wieseler scored just 40 seconds apart, restoring the Tritons' five-goal cushion by the 4:16 mark of the quarter.
Later, the Aztecs closed out the scoring when Israels struck on another power play, but only 2:32 remained in the game.
Junior goalkeeper Kate McDonnell finished with five saves and a pair of steals for SDSU, while her UCSD counterpart Reilly Gallagher came up with 11 stops and two thefts of her own.
Prior to the game, San Diego State honored its seven seniors in Ioli Benekou, Sarah Crist, Makena Magro, Israels, Alyssa Diacono, Mikayla Vessey and Katy Schneider. The group has never lost a Golden Coast Conference regular-season game and won five GCC titles (four regular season, one tournament), including the school's first conference tournament championship in 2016.
Up next for the Aztecs is a trip to the 2017 GCC Tournament, scheduled for April 28-30, in Santa Clara, Calif.