Lions Fall in Title Game
Women's water polo falls to UC San Diego, 10-8, in the WWPA Championship game.
April 28, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- LMU women's water polo rode the dollar coaster of its youthful roster all season and in the championship game of the 2013 Western Water Polo Association Championship the Lions showed their youth.
The Lions fell to 13th-ranked and top-seed UC San Diego, 10-8, in the title game on Sunday as the two teams have no alternated the last four titles within the WWPA.
"This was the first championship game for most of this team and they showed their nerves," said Head Coach Kyle Witt. "We made some youthful mistakes that a championship game will often expose. You have to give credit to UC San Diego, they played a fantastic game."
LMU could never get a stretch of goals together while UC San Diego used a 5-1 run in the first half to push them to the title. Tied at 2-2, the Tritons got three goals in the decisive run by tournament MVP Melissa Bartow to improve to 25-13 on the season. LMU finishes 20-13.
Bartow finished with five goals and the Tritons' defense allowed just three goals in the second half to stay at arms length the rest of the way. LMU was led by junior Alexandra Honny with four goals. Both freshman goalies - UCSD's Courtney Miller and LMU's Claire Wright - had 10 goals each.
The teams traded goals to start the first quarter and after Jolene Guiliana scored to tie the game at 2-2, it started a three-goal run that saw the Tritons go up 5-2. Freshman Ivana Castro would end the run, cutting the lead to 5-3 with 3:51 to play.
UC San Diego wasn't done as they rattled off two more goals - the first by Bartow and the second by Sarah Lizotte to go up 7-3. The teams would trade goals to end the half with UC San Diego up 8-5.
"Our after goal defense was not good at all today," said Witt. "We would get a goal and get some energy just to have it go away quickly by allowing UC San Diego to answer. And once we got down multiple goals it was even harder to get a run going."
The Tritons defense never allowed the Lions to get back-to-back goals until the final five minutes of the game when the Lions cut the lead to two on goals by Mackenzie Beck and the fourth by Honny.
LMU got a turnover with 1:33 to play, but UCSD's defense held, getting a save from Miller in the closing minute to ice it.
WWPA All-Tournament Team