Rocky road trip for water polo

Louis LaVenture,
News and Sports Editor

The road was unkind to the Cal State East Bay women’s water polo team over the weekend.

CSUEB fell to 3-6 overall after they went 1-3 in the UC San Diego Triton Invitational on Feb. 13 and 14. The Pioneers lost both of their matches on Saturday, first to Arizona State, 16-5, and then to Marist College, 6-4. However, East Bay bounced back on Valentine’s Day with a victory over Santa Clara, 7-4, followed by a loss in their final game to Cal State Northridge, 8-6.

Despite the below average record, the Pioneers entered the tournament as the #25 ranked team in NCAA Division II. Unfortunately for CSUEB, there were some other ranked teams in La Jolla as well that included the #5 Sun Devils (2-0) and the #21 team in the division the Wolves (3-9).

Arizona State handed the Pioneers their first loss of the tournament led by senior defender Katie Sverchek who had a game-high 4 goals on 4 shots. Her teammate, sophomore utility player Taylor Bertrand, was also perfect on the day as she chipped in 3 goals on 3 shots.

The second game was much different from the first and the Pioneers almost pulled out a win over Marist College, but they couldn’t find any offense in the last two periods and fell 6-4. It was tied 4-4 after two periods and the Wolves added one goal in each of the last periods to secure the win. It was a battle of goalkeepers that saw CSUEB’s junior Nikki Vaughn recorded a game-high 9 saves in the close loss.

That momentum must have carried over to Valentine’s Day because the Pioneers came out hot against Santa Clara (2-4), and handed the Broncos a 7-4 loss, East Bay’s first win in the tournament. CSUEB senior utility player Tori Dettloff led the charge for the Pioneers and overwhelmed the Santa Clara senior goalkeeper Sydni Estrella, as she amassed 3 goals on 8 shots, a steal and an assist. Vaughn was solid again in the net for East Bay as she tallied 9 saves and a steal.

“They’re fast,” Estrella said. “We could have had better communication. We just could have been better.”

In the final game of the tournament for the Pioneers, they played another close contest against the Cal State Northridge Matadors (5-5), but eventually fell, 8-6. This time it was a pair of utility players for CSUEB who did most of the scoring damage, senior Taylor cross scored 2 goals and junior Brandi Carroll pitched in with 2 goals as well. Matador’s sophomore attacker Madeleine Sanchez had a game-high 4 goals on 4 shots and drew 2 exclusions in the win.

Dettloff and Cross lead the team in goals with 14 and 13, respectively, while Rushforth leads the team in assists with 15. The road trip will continue for East Bay when they travel to Rohnert Park to take on Sonoma State (2-7) at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Rudloff Pool. The squad will finally return home on Saturday when they host Fresno Pacific (2-2) at Pioneer Pool on the Hayward campus at 1 p.m.