Photo by: UCSD
Natalie Peng and the Tritons will face seventh-seeded Cal State Bakersfield to open the WWPA Championships on April 29.
UCSD Falls to No. 9 SDSU in Annual Harper Cup Battle
Release: Friday 04/22/2011 
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's water polo team fell to crosstown rival No. 9 San Diego State in the annual Harper Cup, 15-7, on Friday afternoon at the Aztec Aquaplex. The rivalry recognizes the influence of current UCSD Men's Coach Denny Harper on the development of both programs.

Leanne Ford and Ronni Gautshci gave the Aztecs a 2-0 lead less than three minutes in, but Felicia Orozco cut the SDSU lead in half with a power play goal just with 45 seconds left in the opening period.

After SDSU responded with a quick score in the second quarter, Sarah Lizotte answered with another goal on a Triton 6-on-5 to make it 3-2. The Aztecs would open the lead to 4-2, but the Triton freshman scored back-to-back goals to even the score at four-apiece. However, SDSU would score consecutive goals with less than 70 seconds remaining in the half to take a 6-4 lead into the break.

For Lizotte, the hat trick marks her sixth in a row, and she has led the team in scoring in each of the last eight contests.

Following the intermission, UCSD again took advantage of a power play, methodically moving the ball until Hanalei Crowell gently placed a shot over SDSU goalie Kelly Campoli. Orozco added her second of the game on a breakaway, beating Campoli to tie the game 6-6 with 5:19 remaining in the third.

The momentum seemed to turn in the match, but four consecutive goals to close the third period by the Aztecs crushed the Tritons' chances. Natalie Peng would be the lone Triton to find the back of the net in the final stanza, as the Tritons eventually fell by eight.

Allie Taylor recorded eight saves in the loss, as the Tritons finish the season at 14-18 overall. SDSU ends its season with a 20-12 mark.

Earlier this week, UCSD was granted the No. 2 seed for the Western Water Polo Association Championships, Apr. 29 - May 1 in Hayward, by virtue of the Tritons' 9-1 record against conference opponents. UCSD finished second to No. 8 Loyola Marymount, who went 11-0 against WWPA-foes. The Tritons will open the tournament on Friday, Apr. 29 against the seventh seed, Cal State Bakersfield. UCSD is 2-0 against CSUB this season, having taken down the Roadrunners, 13-10 and 14-11, on February 27 and March 11, respectively.

The UCSD-CSUB winner will face the winner of Santa Clara-Sonoma State at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 30, with the victor heading for Sunday's title match at 1:30 p.m. UCSD finished runner-up to LMU at the 2010 WWPA Championships.

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