Photo by: Jimmy Gekas/Sideline Studios
Jessica Tran moved into ninth place all-time for career assists on Friday at Sonoma State.
No. 20 UCSD Faces Colorado State Ahead of 2011 WWPA Title Rematch at No. 7 LMU
Release: Wednesday 03/07/2012 
LA JOLLA, Calif. - The 20th-ranked UC San Diego women's water polo team welcomes Colorado State to Canyonview Pool on Friday evening before traveling to face perennial Western Water Polo Association powerhouse No. 7 Loyola Marymount on Saturday afternoon.

Game 18
No. 20 UC San Diego (9-8, 3-1) vs. Colorado State (1-10, 0-1)
Friday, March 9 - 6:00 p.m.
Canyonview Pool - La Jolla, Calif.

Game 19
No. 20 UC San Diego (9-8, 3-1) at No. 7 Loyola Marymount (6-7, 2-0)
Saturday, March 10, 2012 - 12:00 p.m.
Burns Center - Los Angeles, Calif.

UCSD opened the 2012 season against Colorado State with a 14-11 come-from-behind victory over the Rams on January 26 in Fort Collins. The Tritons trailed in the third quarter, but were boosted by a pair of second-half hat tricks from Kirsten Bates and Sarah Lizotte. Lizotte finished with six goals in the contest on 6-for-11 shooting. Jessica Tran added three assists while Melissa Bartow drew three ejections. CSU beat UCSD in the man-advantage category, converting on four of its six chances when the Tritons were 3-for-11. Since the teams' first match-up of the season, the Rams have dropped five of six matches.

Eight-time WWPA champion Loyola Marymount welcomes UCSD on Saturday afternoon in a match that will be ripe with WWPA implications. UCSD, who finished in second place behind LMU after the 2011 regular season, upset the top-seeded Lions in the WWPA title game on May 1, 13-11, to earn UCSD's first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships. Before the Tritons' win last May, LMU had won the previous seven contests between the teams dating back to 2008. UCSD is 13-22 all-time against LMU and have not beaten the Lions in Los Angeles since April 12, 2008 (9-7).

LMU and UCSD met in the WWPA title game for the fifth time in the conference tournament's history in 2011, and, unlike the first four meetings, the Tritons came out on top. UCSD trailed 10-8 in the fourth quarter, but Jessica Tran scored twice and Hanalei Crowell found the net in succession to hand the Tritons an 11-10 lead. LMU tied it at 11-11, but Crowell scored her third goal of the game and Katherine Biehle sealed it with a man-up goal with 1:06 left to play in UCSD's 13-11 victory. Lizotte led all scorers with four goals while Crowell and Tran each registered a hat trick. Allie Taylor made seven stops in goal.

UCSD went to overtime for the first time this season with Pacific on Saturday morning at the Aggie Invitational and prevailed 9-8. The Tritons tied the game at 6-6 on a penalty shot by Bates in the fourth and then took the lead on another successful Bates penalty with 2:43 remaining in the first overtime. Lizotte drew both five-meter shots. The Tritons eventually led by three in the extra time before the Tigers scored two late goals to pull back within one. Taylor set a new career-high with 13 saves in the contest and UCSD limited itself to just a pair of ejections, a season-low.

The UCSD record book welcomed two new members into different career Top 10 lists over the weekend. Jessica Tran, who leads the team with 31 assists on the season, moved into ninth place in UCSD all-time history with her second assist on Friday afternoon at Sonoma State. The senior from Irvine now has 85 assists for her career and needs just two more to surpass Claudia O'Brien (1975-78) for eighth place all-time. Junior goalkeeper Allie Taylor's 26 saves over the weekend also entered her into the Top 10 for career stops. Taylor, who has amassed 350 saves over her three-year career, sits in ninth place all-time and needs 46 more stops to move up a spot.

Kirsten Bates led the Tritons with six goals over the weekend, including hat tricks in both wins over Sonoma State and Pacific. Although she led the teams in scoring, it's her lone steal on Saturday against UOP that deserves notice. For Bates - who already appears in the UCSD career Top 10 lists for goals, attempts and penalties drawn - that forced turnover moved the senior into tenth place all-time with 152 career steals.

UCSD ought to keep with the program so far this season of feeding Sarah Lizotte a steady dose of the offense, as the sophomore has already surpassed her freshman-year total of 46 scores. Her 47 goals so far in 2012 are the most in the nation (according to the NCAA Water Polo statistical database on March 7) and she is averaging 2.76 goals per game. Lizotte scored five goals and registered a team-high four assists over the weekend.

Katherine Biehle tallied a team-high eight steals in the Tritons' three contests over the weekend ... Rachel Brooks scored once against SSU and then again at UC Davis ... Lindsay Holbrook converted the only shot she took last weekend with a goal against Pacific ... Melissa Bartow drew nine ejections last weekend and needs only 16 more to move into 10th-place in single-season history (she currently has 54) ... Natalie Peng shot .500 (4-for-8) in the three games ... UCSD was held without a 6-on-5 goal for only the second time this season against UCD on Saturday ... The Tritons are 1-2 in one-goal games, but 4-2 in games decided by three goals or less ... The Tritons are 9-1 when tied or leading at the half, but 0-7 when trailing at the break.

You've heard UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp on the pool deck, but now you can follow his own perspective on the team through Twitter. Follow @UCSDcoachK all season for an in-depth look inside the Triton women's water polo program. In addition, you can always keep in touch with UCSD Athletics through @UCSDtritons and

UC San Diego is playing host to the NCAA Women's Basketball West Regional March 9-10 & 12 at RIMAC. The Tritons have earned the West's top seed and will face No. 8-seed Chico State on Friday at 7:30 p.m. For more information on how to get tickets and the teams involved, visit the Tournament Central page here.

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