Water Polo Falls Short vs. Pacific in GCC Title Game
April 30, 2017
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -
Top-seeded San Diego State dug itself too big a hole to climb out of and fell to second-seeded Pacific, 11-7, on Sunday in the title game of the Golden Coast Conference Championship. The Aztecs fell to 18-14 on the season, while the Tigers moved to 20-8.
Appearing in its fourth league tournament final in four years, SDSU trailed 3-0 after the first 3:05. The Aztecs finally got on the board with 3:33 left when Lizzy Bilz connected with Hannah Carrillo to bring San Diego State to within 3-1. The Tigers, however, scored twice in the final 95 seconds and took a 5-1 lead into the second frame.
Carrillo added a second goal eight seconds into the quarter, but the Aztecs allowed two more goals as Pacific moved out in front, 7-2. Ioli Benekou provided San Diego State's third goal of the afternoon on a penalty shot. Viktoria Tamas, however, wiped the goal away as she scored less than a second before the halftime horn to give UOP an 8-3 advantage at halftime.
San Diego State's defense tightened up in the third quarter, but its offense could not generate enough goals to make a large enough dent in its deficit. The Aztecs surrounded one Tigers goal with single goals from Alyssa Diacono and Benekou to make it 9-5 Pacific after 24 minutes.
In the fourth, the Tigers scored on a five-meter penalty and a power play all while keeping SDSU quiet on offense. San Diego State finally broke through with 1:44 left when Benekou scored on a 6-on-5 chance. The senior added a five-meter penalty goal with less than a minute to go to provide the final four-goal margin.
Benekou led all players by scoring four goals with Carrillo adding two of her own and Diacono scoring once. Caroline Israels shared game-high honors with two assists. Kate McDonnell, meanwhile, had 10 saves in net, marking her ninth double-figure save effort of the season.