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Aztec Water Polo Travels to UC Irvine, Hosts UC Santa Barbara

The Aztec water polo team will head to UC Irvine before hosting UC Santa Barbara in MPSF action this weekend.
The Aztec water polo team will head to UC Irvine before hosting UC Santa Barbara in MPSF action this weekend.

March 5, 2008

SAN DIEGO -

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NO. 6 SDSU WATER POLO HEADS TO UC IRVINE, HOSTS UCSB
The sixth-ranked San Diego State women's water polo team (14-2 overall; 1-1 MPSF) will make its way to the Anteater Aquatics Complex for a 7 p.m. (PST) Mountain Pacific Sports Federation showdown with No. 9 UC Irvine on Friday, March 7. The Scarlet and Black will then return to the Aztec Aquaplex for the first time since its season opener on Feb. 7, to continue its conference schedule by hosting No. 17 UC Santa Barbara, Sunday, March 9, at noon (PST).

SDSU is coming off an MPSF opening weekend split in northern California. On Saturday, March 1, the Aztecs gave No. 2 Stanford a run for its money, but was ultimately unable to pull off the upset, falling 12-9 at Avery Aquatic Center. The Cardinal tallied three goals in each quarter, jumping out to an early 3-1 lead after the first eight minutes of play. SDSU matched Stanford in the second frame to pull within two (6-4) at intermission, but the home team was able to hold on in the second half to claim the victory. Jenna Schuster led the Aztec attack with her fifth hat trick of the season. Ronni Gautschi added a pair of goals, while Tiphanie Elliott, Erin Lester, Becca Ur and Anna Gonzales all found the back of the net.

San Diego State rebounded from its tough loss to Stanford by claiming a 9-8 comeback victory at eighth-ranked San Jose State the following day. SDSU took an early lead after the first quarter, but the Spartans dominated over the next 16 minutes, outscoring the Aztecs 7-3 to take a two-goal advantage heading into the final period. The Scarlet and Black then started to chip away as Erinn Greenwood knotted the score at 8-8, before Gonzales tossed in the game-winner with 36 seconds left to play. Gonzales finished the game with four goals and Greenwood added a pair of tallies. Jessica Pace, Jenna Schuster and Danielle Pelke rounded out the Aztec scorers.

SCOUTING THE ANTEATERS
UC Irvine (9-6 overall; 2-3 MPSF) is also coming off a road trip to northern California, where it went 2-1 on the weekend. The Anteaters slipped past UC Davis, 8-7, and downed Pacific, 20-8, but fell to No. 3 Cal by a 5-3 count. Jessica Lewis and Nicole Flacco each totaled five goals in three games to bolster the Eaters offense. On the season, Lewis leads UCI with 22 goals, while Gianna Rossi has scored 19 times. Lauren Machanis has been the Anteaters' primary goalkeeper, notching 118 saves.

As a team, UC Irvine ranks 5th in the MPSF in defense, allowing 7.07 goals per game and is 12th in offensive production (7.80 g/game). Dan Klatt enters his fourth season at the helm of the UC Irvine women's water polo team. Klatt was a two-time All-American water polo player for the Anteaters and graduated from UCI in 2001.

SERIES HISTORY VS. UC IRVINE
Since 1995, San Diego State leads in its all-time series with UC Irvine by an 18-1 count. The two teams met earlier this year at the UC Irvine Invitational (Feb. 24), with the Aztecs coming out on top, 9-8. Danielle Pelke scored the game-winning goal on a power play with 12 seconds on the clock.

Last year, SDSU and UCI squared off three times over the course of the season. The Anteaters emerged victorious (8-7) in the opening round of the UCI Invite for their first triumph over the Scarlet and Black, but the Aztecs came back to claim the regular season meeting in San Diego before earning a 10-9 overtime win at the MPSF tournament in Tempe, Ariz.

SCOUTING THE GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara (4-9 overall; 0-3 MPSF) is looking for its first conference win and will host Stanford (March 7) and San Jose State (March 8), before making its way to the Aztec Aquaplex. Last weekend, the Gauchos struggled offensively against top-ranked UCLA, dropping a 12-0 decision in Santa Barbara. Gillian Morgan leads UCSB with 31 goals and also ranks fourth in the MPSF with 2.38 goals per game. The Gauchos are ninth in the MPSF with 8.62 goals per game and rank 12th in defense (9.23 goals allowed per game). Jenn Durley begins her first year of head coaching duties at UC Santa Barbara after spending the last four seasons as the top assistant at Michigan.

SERIES HISTORY VS. UC SANTA BARBARA
l Since 1995, San Diego State leads in its all-time series with UC Santa Barbara by a 35-9 count. The two squads squared off earlier this year at the UC San Diego Trtion Invitational (Feb. 10), with SDSU holding on for the 8-6 victory. The Aztecs and Gauchos were pitted against each other on five different occasions in 2007, with SDSU pulling off the season sweep. The last showdown was at the MPSF tournament in Tempe, Ariz., where the Scarlet and Black posted a 13-11 triumph.