April 26, 2014
Media Links: Replay of LMU Sports Network Broadcast | GCC Championship Central | Box Score |
Water Polo Links: This is LMU Women's Water Polo | LMU on Facebook | LMU on Twitter
LOS ANGELES - It was a fitting end to the first-ever Golden Coast Conference season, a triple overtime thriller that has the LMU women's water polo once again a top its conference.
Their first meeting went down to the buzzer. Anything close to that would make a classic championship in the league's first season.
It was even better.
Danielle Johnson scored with 57 seconds left in sudden-death overtime to lift the Lions to a 10-9 win over the Aztecs in the championship game of the 2014 GCC Championships at the Burns Aquatics Center on Satuday.
The Lions claim the first-ever GCC tournament championship for the new league, making it their 10th conference title since 2001.
The set-up to overtime was even dramatic, as Caroline Israels scored her fifth goal of the game with just 13 seconds left on a 6-on-5 attack to tie it 8-8 and send it to extra fames.
Both teams would score in the first overtime. Carina Carballo scored with 49 seconds left to give the Aztecs the 9-8 lead. Then Laura Lopez scored with just one second left to tie it at 9-9. Neither team scored in the second overtime frame to set-up the sudden-death overtime.
Ivana Castro led the Lions (22-12) with three goals while Lopez had two. The Lions had to play the last 15 minutes of the game without GCC Player of the Year and the conference's leading scorer Alexandra Honny, who earned her third exclusion with 5:15 to play. They then had to go with out All-GCC selection Mackenzie Beck all of overtime with her third that set-up the tying goal.
The Aztecs (23-12) took control early with a 2-0 lead only to see the Lions quickly tie it. LMU would then outscore San Diego State 3-1 in the second quarter to take a 5-4 lead into the half.
Castro would score in the first minute of the third quarter to give LMU a 6-4 lead.
It wouldn't last long, as goals from Ioli Benekou and Israels tied the game at 6-6 with 5:34 to play.
Just over a minute later the Lions regained the lead on a Bridgette Alvarez goal to make it 7-6. It would stay that way into the fourth before the Aztecs tied it again, this time at 7-7 on another Israels goal.
On the next LMU possession, Lopez scored to make it 8-7 LMU with 6:50 to play. Neither team could take advantage of the six exclusions called over the next six minutes before Israels send it to overtime.
The 2014 GCC All-Tournament Team:
Mackenzie Beck, LMU
Hannah Evans, California Baptist
Claire Eadington, Santa Clara
Anique Hermann, SDSU
Alexandra Honny, LMU - MVP
Caroline Israels, San Diego St.
Gracie Smith, Pacific