Quest for Three-Peat Begins Friday
Women's water polo to open GCC Championships with familiar foe in Santa Clara.
LOS ANGELES -- LMU women's water polo will begin their quest for a third straight Golden Coast Conference Tournament Championship on Friday when they face a familiar foe. The Lions will open as the fourth seed and will take on fifth-seeded Santa Clara at 3 pm at San Diego State's Aztec Aquaplex.
This will be the eighth time LMU and Santa Clara will meet in the conference tournament, the first five coming in the Western Water Polo Association and now the most recent three as part of the GCC. They have met in each tournament since 2013, including the opening round of last year's GCC Championships at Pacific.
The Lions are 7-0 against the Broncos in that stretch, including a 13-10 win a year ago. The teams met in the WWPA title age in 2009, with LMU earning an 8-4 victory. This will be the 25th all-time meeting between the two programs.
This season, the Lions earned a 10-7 win in GCC play on Apr. 2 at the Burns Aquatics Center. The Lions used a 5-2 edge in the second half to earn a the come-from-behind victory over the Broncos. Goalie Sky Flores had another double-digit save effort, making 12, and the Lions offense got four goals from Ivana Castro and three from Bridgette Alvarez at two-meter. Elle Surber had a pair of goals and two steals for the Broncos. Surber leads the Broncos in goals this season why 37, ranking 14th in the GCC.
The 6-on-5 opportunities kept the Broncos close as they outscored the Lions 5-1 with the extra-attacker advantage. The Broncos finished 5-for-9 on the 6-on-5 while the Lions went 1-for-7.
GCC All-Freshman selection Hana Vilanova leads the Lions with 44 goals, ranking 10th in the GCC. Fellow freshman Sky Flores is second in the GCC with 255 saves, posting 12 games with at least 10 saves.
Senior Kingsley Hill leads the Lions and the GCC with 45 assists while junior Caitlin Schafer is fourth in the GCC in steals with 48. She is also tied for third in the league with 13 field blocks. Vilanova is tie for seventh with 12.
The winner of the Lions and Broncos will play in the second semifinal of the GCC Women's Championships against top-seed and host San Diego State at 3 pm on Saturday, Apr. 30. Follow the games live online at GCCWaterPolo.com.
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