Water Polo Reaches Mid-Season Stride
The CSU East Bay water polo team has reached the mid-season of the 2012 campaign.
Last Saturday saw the Pioneers hosting their conference rival, Cal State Monterey Bay, who entered the match with a 4-1 conference record.
It was a head-to-head match up until the final seconds of the game, but the Pioneers were able to hold off the Otters defeating them by a final score of 10-9.
Despite a slow start to the match that saw the Pioneers trailing at the half by two goals, East Bay came back to outscore Monterey Bay in the third quarter and a final goal by freshman Sophie Armstrong with minutes left in the fourth quarter which would seal the win for CSUEB.
Senior Erica Crain led the Pioneers with four goals in the matchup, including three crucial goals in the third quarter that allowed East Bay to mount a comeback, followed by three goals by sophomore Sara Hudyn.
The Pioneers’ goalie and reigning Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) Co-Player of the Week Jayme Pekarske posted 10 saves in the matchup.
Last week, the conference honored Pekarske with Co-Player of the Week honors for her performance against two Division I opponents in Colorado State and nationally ranked Indiana State.
On Mar. 3 in Colorado, Pekarske had 11 saves, two steals and an assist in the 12-10 win over Colorado State, marking the third time that the Pioneers beat a Division I opponent this year.
The following day against Indiana, who are ranked 13th in the nation, Pekarske had a season best 16 saves in the matchup, holding them to just two goals in the first half. Although it was a valiant effort by Pekarske and the Pioneers, a late fourth quarter scoring attack by Indiana sealed the defeat for the Pioneers 8-5.
With the Pioneers defeat of Monterey Bay over the weekend, they have now evened up their overall record at 7-7, advancing their conference record to 5-3.
Currently, the Pioneers stand in fourth place in the WWPA standings behind CSU Bakersfield, UC San Diego and CSU Monterey Bay.
Last season, the Pioneers made it to the WWPA championships, which were held in Hayward at Chabot College, in convincible fashion. In the championships, they posted the best finish ever in CSUEB history finishing in fourth place.
This season, the Pioneers seek to get back to the championships, which will be hosted by UC San Diego and will be held in the Canyonview Aquatics Center from May 11 to 13, hoping to post an even better finish than a season ago.
The Pioneers will open up the second half of their season this weekend in a pair of games against Fresno Pacific as on Mar. 16, the Pioneers will host FPU at the Pioneer pool, before traveling to Fresno on Mar. 17, for another matchup to close out the series.