SAN DIEGO - The senior duo of Lauren Boyer and Alexis Wieseler powered the 18th-ranked University of California San Diego women’s water polo team to claim the 16th annual Harper Cup over No. 11 San Diego State by a final score of 10-6 in a crosstown showdown, Saturday at Aztec Aquaplex.
The Harper Cup will stay in La Jolla for another year after UC San Diego won the 2016 edition in sudden death at Canyonview Aquatic Center. It was the third time that UCSD lifted the cup, all coming in the past four years, and first time at SDSU. The Tritons, now 3-13 in the matchup, also won at home in 2014.
With the win, the Tritons improve to 17-14 on the season while SDSU falls to 17-13 overall.
Wieseler and Boyer combined for eight of UCSD’s 10 goals, with Boyer tallying a game-high five and Wieseler adding three. Junior Kayla Fedler and sophomore Chanel Schilling had a goal each. Sophomore Krista Schneider notched four assists while freshman Jessee Ransone had a team-high three steals.
For her efforts, Boyer was named the Harper Cup MVP. She accounted for the game-winning goal in both of the last two editions.
In goal, freshman Reilly Gallagher had a season-high 11 saves and two steals. SDSU goalkeeper Kate McDonnell made five saves.
The Tritons outscored the Aztecs 5-1 in the first half, including a 4-0 shutout of SDSU in the second frame.
Boyer got things started, firing a shot past McDonnell off a pass from Schneider in the first quarter. The Aztecs’ Caroline Israels answered with a power-play goal less than a minute later.
Wieseler scored back-to-back goals to open the second quarter, her second coming off a penalty shot. Boyer followed, scoring on a penalty to give UCSD a 4-1 advantage. She capped the frame scoring off a pass from Ransone. The Triton defense kept the Aztecs from reaching the back of the cage as UCSD led 5-1 at the half.
SDSU scored first in the second half but the Tritons quickly answered when Fedler found the back of the cage off a pass from Schneider. Boyer followed with her fourth goal of the day before Israels added one for the Aztecs on a power play. Schilling drilled one past McDonnell less than a minute later to give UCSD a five-goal lead heading into the final quarter.
The Aztecs’ Hannah Carrillo had two goals in the final frame while Israels added one but it wasn’t enough as the Tritons kept the Harper Cup. Boyer and Wieseler each had a goal in the quarter.
The Harper Cup is named for UCSD men’s water polo head coach Denny Harper, who played at SDSU and received his undergraduate degree from the school in 1978. He established the SDSU women’s water polo club team and went on to coach UCSD’s women’s team to five collegiate national championships from 1985-99.
UCSD will next play at the Western Water Polo Association Championship, at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva Ohio, on Friday to Sunday, April 28-30. The top-seeded Tritons have a first-round bye and will start their conference title defense in a semifinal matchup against the winner of the first-round game between No. 4 Cal State Monterey Bay and No. 5 Mercyhurst on Saturday, April 29 at 10:45 a.m. (PT).
UCSD 1 4 3 2 - 10
SDSU 1 0 2 3 - 6
SDSU: Caroline Israels 3, Hannah Carillo 2, Alyssa Diakono 1.
UCSD: Reilly Gallagher 11.
SDSU: Kate McDonnell 5.