LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No. 20 UC San Diego women's water polo team recovered from a lethargic start to take a 9-4 win over Colorado State in Western Water Polo Association play on Friday night at Canyonview Pool.
UCSD improves to 10-8 overall and 4-1 in WWPA play. CSU drops to 1-11 and 0-2 in conference competition. Kirsten Bates led the Tritons with four goals while Katherine Biehle and Sarah Lizotte added a pair of scores. Melissa Bartow also scored for the Tritons and Allie Taylor made eight stops in goal.
The Tritons combined for five turnovers and four missed shots in the opening frame as the Rams jumped out to a 2-1 lead on a pair of goals by Kallie Berry. Lizotte evened the game on a Triton 6-on-5 40 seconds into the second quarter and Biehle scored at the 5:33 mark to hand UCSD a 3-2 lead heading into the half.
"I thought we came out slow and sluggish. We talked about when we come out against teams we are favored against, we can't come out and make stupid turnovers," said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "We finally started going back to our bread and butter which is defense and the counter attack, then we slowly and methodically pulled away from them."
Back-to-back goals by Bates pushed UCSD's lead to 5-2 at the 6:29 mark of the third quarter, but Stephanie Weed answered for CSU to keep the Rams within two. Bates notched her third goal of the stanza with a backhand shot off a pass inside from Leah Gonzales to give UCSD a 6-3 lead with 4:36 left.
UCSD opened the fourth quarter with three consecutive goals to put the game out of reach. Lizotte converted a penalty shot, Biehle scored out of a timeout and Bartow got on the scoresheet by finishing a rebound off the cross bar to give UCSD a 9-3 lead with 4:54 to play. The Rams got one back in the final two minutes with a man-advantage.
UCSD converted 4-of-7 man-up opportunities while CSU went 2-of-9 in 6-on-5 situations.
Gonzales, Lizotte and Jessica Tran registered two assists in the contest while Kat Andersen tallied three steals.
The Tritons head to Los Angeles to face WWPA rival No. 7 Loyola Marymount on Saturday at noon in the Burns Center. UCSD and LMU last met in the 2011 WWPA championship, a game in which the Tritons prevailed 13-11 to advance to last year's NCAA Championships for the first time in program history.
"This game has been circled on our calendars, as well as it has been for [LMU]," said Kreutzkamp. "We'll go and give them our all and see what happens."