Women’s water polo sinks at championships

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Women’s water polo sinks at championships

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

Louis LaVenture,
Sports and Campus Editor

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It was a weekend of familiar foes for the Cal State East Bay women’s water polo team in the pool at the Western Water Polo Association Championships in Geneva, Ohio.

The Pioneers (13-16 overall) defeated third ranked Cal State Monterey Bay (9-17) 12-11 and second ranked Sonoma State (9-20) 8-7, in overtime to advance to the championship game against top ranked UC San Diego (18-18) on Sunday. CSUEB fell to the UC San Diego Tritons 10-8 in the final match to bring an end to their 2015 season.

The Otters defeated CSUEB in their two regular season match ups but the third time was a charm for the Pioneers and they were able to defeat CSUMB in overtime by one goal, 12-11.

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY TAM DUONG JR./THE PIONEER

CSUEB junior from Fresno Taylor Cross led the way with a team-high 5 goals on 8 shots. Pioneers senior Ka’iliponi McGee also chipped in with two goals in the close match.

With one quarter left to play the Pioneers had a 9-5 lead that the Otters made a furious comeback to force an overtime session.

CSUEB junior Casey Rushforth scored the game-winning goal on an assist from senior Tori Dettloff. Senior goalkeeper Marrina Nation recorded 11 saves in the game one victory for the Pioneer water polo squad.

“I was very impressed with the way we came out and started the game,” CSUEB Head Coach Lisa Cooper said. “I knew we couldn’t let up with Monterey Bay being a good team and having earned a comeback win against us earlier this year.”

In game two the Pioneers found themselves down going in to the final period against Sonoma State 4-3, but managed to force an overtime session on a late goal from Cross.

Cross scored two more times in the extra sessions and junior Jenn Lightbody nailed the game-winner in sudden death for an 8-7 victory.

“That was the craziest game I have ever been a part of,” Cooper said. “I was very impressed with this team’s composure after allowing that final second score.”

Nation recorded 9 saves and Cross led the way offensively with 4 goals on 10 shot attempts.

The thrilling sudden death victory set up the championship match between the Pioneers and UC San Diego, who defeated CSUEB 15-13 on April 5.

The Tritons controlled the game for the first three periods and took a commanding 10-4 lead in to the final period. The Pioneers managed to score 4 goals in the final period but it wasn’t enough and their championship run fell just short by a final of 10-8.

“We didn’t give up and kept on fighting until the very end,” Cooper said.

Nation recorded 10 saves in the game and Cross once again led the way on offense for CSUEB with 3 goals on 5 shots.

This was the final match of their career for the four CSUEB seniors on this year’s squad. Nation, McGee, Alyssa Hess and Bre Ritter all played in their final matches as Pioneers.