LA JOLLA, Calif. -
The 17th-ranked UC San Diego women’s water polo team used a strong second half to upset No. 9 Long Beach State, 9-7, at Canyonview Pool Thursday night.
UCSD earned its seventh victory over a top-20 nationally-ranked opponent and improved to 19-12 overall. LBSU is now 24-5.
“We tested ourselves all year against everybody in the top-20,” said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. “We have seven top-20 wins right now and that’s not by accident. They have to keep powering these out. They’ve been in this position before, we’ve been down by three or four to come back and win so it’s nothing new for us.”
The youth of the Tritons' roster pulled through as freshman Alexis Wieseler scored a team-high four goals and classmate Julia Kirkland added two of her own.
UCSD was quick to start as Jolene Guiliana earned the first sprint. The Tritons then scored the first goal of the game, just 38 seconds into play. After using the majority of their 35-second shot clock, they earned a reset after Long Beach keeper Kelly Ringel tipped the ball out of play. Kirkland would net the opening goal off a pass in from Allison Delgado.
The 49ers answered back, with Christina Kotsia scoring both of the teams' first quarter goals in 6-on-5 situations, giving LBSU a 2-1 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Kotsia extended Long Beach State's lead, scoring the first goal of the second stanza at the 7:05 mark, but the two-goal separation didn’t last long as Guiliana scored her first goal of the game off a fast break pass from Courtney Miller in cage.
Trailing 4-2, Wieseler began to make an impact, capitalizing off a Long Beach offensive call to score her first goal of the contest. She then tacked on her second shortly thereafter, getting past a sea of 49er field blocks.
With just 18 seconds remaining in the first half of play, Sarah Lizotte set and faked Ringel to bring the game to five all entering the break.
With the team down a man due to back-to-back ejections, Miller came up big with three huge stops to open the third quarter, but Coriann Snyder put one past her for the go-ahead goal.
Unanswered goals by Guiliana and Wieseler over the final three minutes of the third gave UCSD its first lead, 7-6, since the opening minute of play.
From there, the Tritons would not let go of the lead and got up by as many as three goals just under the two-minute mark of the fourth when a back-handed shot by Melissa Bartow made the score 9-6.
Long Beach State scored once more with 1:43 left in the game.
Miller finished with 12 saves for the Tritons.
UCSD will take part in the inaugural CCAA Championship Invitational, April 13-14 at Fresno Pacific. As the top seed, the Tritons earn a bye through the first round and will play the winner of the Cal State Monterey Bay/Azusa Pacific game Saturday evening.
UCSD 1 – 4 – 2 – 2 = 9
LBSU 2 – 3 – 1 – 1 = 7
UCSD Goals: Alexis Wieseler 4, Julia Kirkland, Jolene Guiliana 2, Melissa Bartow, Sarah Lizotte
UCSD Saves: Courtney Miller 12
-- UCSDtritons.com --