Seniors Lead Offense, Lions to Win

Kimberly Benedetti scores her fifth of seven goals against Princeton on Sunday.

May 13, 2012

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SAN DIEGO - LMU senior Kimberly Benedetti became just the third Lion in school history to score at least seven goals in a game, and she picked a good time to do it. Playing in her final game, Benedetti led the Lions to a 15-11 win over Princeton in the fifth place game of the 2012 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships on Sunday afternoon.

Benedetti, one of five seniors on the team, scored five of her seven goals in the second half and fellow senior and team captain Casey Flacks came up with four assists, four steals and a goal as the Lions finish the 2012 season 22-10 overall with the win. Princeton falls to 29-6.

Sophomore Alexandra Honny added four goals for the Lions, giving her 11 for the tournament. Senior Goalie Elise Ponce had 13 saves for the Lions. She had 36 saves on the weekend.

"I am really proud of this group of seniors, they never stopped working and today was a testament to what they have done for this program," said Head Coach Kyle Witt. "K.B. had somewhat of down season but never stopped working and came through for us big today.

"Casey has done every little thing for us and has made unordinary plays look routine. Whitney Delgado had a big goal for us, Aimee Goodwin got some big minutes for us and Elise was huge once again for us in goal. This whole group of seniors has helped this program to continue to make strides in being one of the top programs in the country."

It was a tight one from the start as the Lions jumped to a 3-1 lead after Hinny scored with just over three minutes off the clock in the opening frame. However, Princeton scored the next three goals to take a 4-3 lead a minute into the second quarter.

Freshman Laura Lopez would snap the Tigers run and tie the game, 4-4, with a 6-on-5 goal at the 5:38 mark. Princeton answered right back to take a 5-4 lead just 35 seconds later.

The Lions would then score three unanswered goals of their own, as Morelos scored from two-meters to start the run and then Honny scored back-to-back goals to make it 7-5 with 2:06 to play in the half.

The teams would trade goals to end the half, including Honny's fourth of the half with just 25 seconds remaining, making the score 8-6 LMU at the break.

Benedetti would then start her dominating second half just 19 seconds in, scoring from two meters to make 9-6. After the Tigers answered, Benedetti scored again to make it 10-7 with just two minutes off the clock in the second half.

The teams would trade goals into the fourth quarter when Delgado scored with 6:52 remaining in the game to give the Lions a 12-9 lead.

Princeton wasn't done as they scored back-to-back goals to make it 12-11 with just under four minutes left in the game.

That's when Flacks took over.

Flacks fed Benedetti at two-meter and the two-meter threat would score her sixth of the game to make it 13-11. Then with Princeton on the counter, Flacks would earn a steal, draw an ejection and then score with 1:30 to play to give the Lions a 14-11 lead. Benedetti would tack on a goal to cap off her final game.

"I don't mean to down play her effort down the stretch, but she has been making those plays her entire four year career, so you come to think those are just Casey being Casey," said Witt. "They were big plays, but those are plays she has made time and time again."





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