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No. 18 Water Polo Opens GCC Action; Travels to UCI

SDSU opens conference action at home on Saturday before hitting the road on Sunday.
SDSU opens conference action at home on Saturday before hitting the road on Sunday.

Feb. 25, 2014

SAN DIEGO - No. 18 San Diego State water polo is set to open Golden Coast Conference action this Saturday when 19th-ranked Cal Baptist visits Aztec Aquaplex at 11:30 a.m. PT. Then on Sunday, SDSU heads north to Irvine where No. 5 UCI awaits 1 p.m. PT date.

San Diego State begins its first season in the newly formed GCC against a Lancers squad that it has seen from a short distance. The Aztecs opened their season at the Lancer Mini, an event where both teams posted 2-0 records. SDSU earned victories over Concordia and CSU Bakersfield, while CBU defeated Cal State Northridge and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Cal Baptist comes into its GCC opener with a 7-7 record after dropping two games in Bloomington, Ind. The Lancers were on the wrong end of a 14-11 score against 15th-ranked Indiana, before being edged, 7-6, by Michigan.

UC Irvine, meanwhile, is fresh off a sixth-place finish at its own invitational, which represented its best performance in the history of the tournament. The Anteaters head into the weekend with an 11-6 record, having split their last four games. On the final day of the UCI Invite, the `Eaters beat No. 10 CSUN, 7-6, before falling to seventh-ranked Arizona State, 9-8. UC Irvine will welcome No. 13 UC San Diego to Anteater Aquatics Complex on Saturday prior to its match-up with San Diego State.

SDSU will take its 7-5 record into its conference opener having won two straight. The Aztecs downed Pacific, 9-7, on the final day of the UCI Invitational, before upsetting No. 14 UC Davis, 11-10. In the victory over the Tigers, freshman Caroline Israels tallied a team-high three goals and junior Anique Hermann added four assists to help snap a four-game skid. Later that day, the Aztecs received four goals apiece from Hermann, who also had five steals, and freshman Ioli Benekou to end the tourney on a winning note.

Hermann and Israels head into this weekend's competition with a team-best 18 goals apiece. Benekou and fellow freshman Alyssa Diacono, meanwhile, have 17 and 13 goals, respectively. Hermann also has a team-best 25 assists and 25 steals. Sophomore Nikole Ferrari is also enjoying a solid season with 10 goals, 11 assists and 20 steals, while classmate Rachel Mitchell has made all 12 starts in net and has 110 stops to her credit.

After this week's stay in southern California, San Diego State will head east to Boston, Mass., where it will compete at the Harvard Invitational.