SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The 13th-ranked UC San Diego women’s water polo team will play in the 2013 Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) championship game on Sunday after defeating Colorado State, 14-6, in Saturday’s semifinal round.
The Tritons, now 24-13, will face 11th-ranked Loyola Marymount in Sunday’s title game at 2 p.m. UCSD is 2-0 when facing the Lions this season.
"It feels great, making it back to the championship game," said junior Melissa Bartow. " We prepare all season for this tournament and it feels good to know we've put ourselves in a position to win."
"The fact that we're in the championship game for the fourth straight year shows that our coaches are definitely doing something right," said Bartow. " We work really, really hard. When we're exhausted in the fall you sometimes wonder if that affects the eventual outcome. Well, it feels like every second pays off when you're playing for a spot in the NCAA Championship."
No. 1 UCSD and No. 2 LMU will face off for a fourth straight time in the title match between the rival squads. The crown has gone back and forth, with UCSD last taking it in 2011.
"Tomorrow against LMU, they'll have similar depth so we'll need to match them person-to-person," said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "We were five-of-six in man-up situations today. If we can get those kind of numbers tomorrow and just put away our shots, I like our chances."
UCSD’s starting lineup pulled together to account for 10 of the Tritons' 14 goals against Colorado State, while Sarah Lizotte scored a team-high four goals.
Rachel Brooks scored on the opening possession after Jolene Guiliana took the first sprint. Lizotte and Julia Kirkland each tacked on one goal apiece to put the Tritons up 3-2 after the first quarter of play.
"We knew our depth would be an advantage, so I tried to sub as quickly as I could in the first quarter and be consistent about it throughout the first half," said Kreutzkamp. "Because of that, we had more energy and were able to pound the cage in the third quarter where we've been strong all year."
The Tritons gained separation in the second quarter, scoring two of their five 6-on-5 goals before halftime.
Lizotte netted two of UCSD's five goals in the third frame. With a last second man-up goal by Lizotte, the Tritons took a 12-5 lead into the final eight minutes of play.
The Tritons scored two more times before CSU tallied its lone goal of the second half with just :39 seconds remaining.
Guiliana posted three assists, bringing her season total to 62 to break the long-standing single season record of 60, set by Danielle Boyle in 2003.
Courtney Miller played the complete game in cage for UCSD, tallying eight saves and one steal.
For a complete schedule with results, visit the Tournament Central Page here.
UCSD 3 – 4 – 5 – 2 = 14
CSU 2 – 3 – 0 – 1 = 6
UCSD Goals: Sarah Lizotte 4, Julia Kirkland 3, Melissa Bartow 2, Alexis Wieseler 2, Leah Gonzales 2, Rachel Brooks
UCSD Saves: Courtney Miller 8
-- UCSDtritons.com --