FRESNO, Calif. - The 17th-ranked UC San Diego women’s water polo team defeated Cal State East Bay, 9-8, in Sunday's title game to win the inaugural California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship Invitational in Fresno.
UCSD, currently riding a seven game win streak, is now 21-12 overall, while CSUEB holds a 16-14 season record.
Freshman goalie Courtney Miller earned tournament MVP for her performance in goal, posting 12 saves against the Pioneers. Both Sarah Lizotte and Leah Gonzales earned first team recognition, while Melissa Bartow received second team honors.
Gonzales, a junior, had a breakout performance offensively, scoring five goals to lead the Tritons.
UCSD had a bit of a slow start and the Pioneers scored two unanswered goals through the opening six minutes of play. Bartow tossed in the first Triton goal with 1:27 remaining in the first. Gonzales scored her first of the day off a 6-on-5 opportunity to bring a 2-2 tie into the second quarter.
CSUEB went on a run through the second, keeping UCSD scoreless while tallying another three goals of its own to take a 5-2 lead into halftime.
UCSD battled in the third as Gonzales scored three of the Tritons' four goals of the quarter. The teams were tied at 6-6 going in the final frame.
Despite drawing two ejections on the Pioneers early in the fourth, the first goal of the final frame did not come until the 5:04 mark when a Gonzales strike gave UCSD its first lead. Bartow scored just one minute later to give the Tritons breathing room. Rachel Brooks connected on another man-up attempt for the Tritons, giving them a 9-6 lead with 2:01 remaining in regulation.
Kate McAfee and Sara Hudyn each scored in the final minute of play, but the clock ran out on the Pioneers.
UCSD returns to Canyonview Pool on Friday, April 19 to host Cal State San Bernardino in its final Western Water Polo Association game at 6 p.m. The Tritons then play across town in the annual Harper Cup at San Diego State on Saturday, April 20 to close out the regular season.
UCSD 2 – 0 – 4 – 3 = 9
CSUEB 2 – 3 – 1 – 2 = 8
UCSD Saves: Courtney Miller 13
CSUEB Saves: Marrina Nation 11
-- UCSDtritons.com --