LA JOLLA, Calif. - The No.18 UC San Diego women's water polo team will host defending WWPA champion No. 6 Loyola Marymount on Friday evening at Canyonview Pool in the teams' first meeting since the Lions took down the Tritons in the 2010 WWPA Championship match, 13-10. Match time is set for 6:00 p.m.
LMU (7-2) and UCSD (6-4) are 3-0 and 2-0 against conference opponents, respectively, and sit atop the WWPA standings after two weeks of play. The two squads were picked to finish one-two in the WWPA Preseason Coaches Poll released on January 19. In the teams' last meeting on May 2, 2010 in the WWPA championship match, LMU outscored UCSD 4-1 in the second quarter en route to its second consecutive conference title.
UCSD went 2-2 at last weekend's 16-team Triton Invitational at Canyonview Aquatic Center, taking down Santa Clara and Maryland while falling to No. 15 Hartwick and No. 14 UC Santa Barbara. The Tritons earned 10th place, led by 10 goals from Hanalei Crowell.
UCSD trailed early in its opening game against Hartwick, as the Hawks jumped out to a 4-2 lead at the end of the first. After battling to keep their deficit to two at halftime, the Tritons were outscored 5-1 in the third, giving Hartwick a 10-3 cushion heading into the final frame. Each team would muster a single score in the final quarter as the Tritons fell by seven, 11-4.
In the second game, UCSD would lead 6-4 at halftime after two goals from Crowell in addition to scores by Kirsten Bates, Jessica Tran and Melissa Bartow. SCU pulled within one with just 1:38 into the third quarter, but Bartow and Crowell scored to give the Tritons a 9-6 lead with 5:26 left to play. The Broncos would edge within one again with under a minute left, but a goal by Bates with only 32 seconds remaining put the Tritons up for good, 12-10.
In the Tritons third match of the tournament, Maryland would get on the scoreboard first, but the Tritons rebounded to make it 4-2. Felicia Orozco got into the scoring act and Crowell and Bates tacked on more scores to extend the Triton lead to four at halftime, 7-3. Kristen Ostosh stopped 10 Terrapin shot attempts, including a point-blank shot from driver Meghan Powers in the second quarter that could have brought Maryland within two. Natalie Peng also added a pair of goals in the win over Maryland.
UCSD sought revenge against UCSB in its second game on Sunday, having lost to the Gauchos by a goal in the final game of the UCSB Winter Invite on January 30. Leah Gonzales would tie the game at 1-1 just under four minutes to play in the opening quarter, but the Gauchos would account for the next five goals to jump out to a 6-1 lead. Gonzales would add another and Crowell would score to bring the Tritons back to 6-3 at the break. Bartow scored twice with Orozco and Kim McComas tallying goals in the second half, but UCSD could not climb back within four the rest of the way. Ostosh recorded five saves.
LMU advanced to the Triton Invitational championship match against No. 3 UCLA after three consecutive wins over Cal State East Bay, No. 12 Cal State Northridge and No. 9 Michigan. The Lions would eventually lose to the Bruins, 12-9, despite three goals from Mary Ann Campos and pairs of goals from Casey Flacks and Diana Romero.
UCSD is 11-22 all-time against LMU and lost both contests against the Lions in 2010.
After UCSD's contest with LMU on Friday, the Tritons will travel to the UC Irvine Tournament on February 26 and 27. The Tritons will open the 16-team tournament at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 26 against No. 2 USC. Nine of the teams that appeared in the Triton Invite will also be competing in the UC Irvine Tournament.