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UCI Women’s Water Polo Triumphs Over LMU 11-8

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The UC Irvine Women’s water polo team defeated the Loyola Marymount Lions, 11-8, on Thursday, Feb. 16. The ‘Eaters continue to push past the mediocre competition with the season’s second win over the Lions.

Graduate student attacker Jessica Lynch immediately set the tempo for Irvine with a goal 19 seconds into the first period. LMU sputtered as Irvine dominated the ball, showing off focused effort and quickness.

A questionable penalty gave LMU a much-needed break and possession. LMU’s offense was able to quickly score. Suddenly, the Anteaters lost their collective energy after the penalty and were not able to find it again until the fourth period.

The game shifted back and forth through the first three periods, with the team energy of LMU matching the individual brilliance of UCI. 

Every time Lynch and her fellow attackers powered the offense to a good string of possessions, the team’s defense allowed the Lions to strike back. Stretches of stout physical defense were often worn down by unnecessary turnovers from the offense.

Through these crests and dips in collective play, individual play and effort remained high. No UCI player earned a yellow or red card and committed no penalty fouls. That level of personal discipline was useful in keeping the game competitive despite UCI’s unstable collective play.

Going into the fourth period, the Anteaters were up by a goal. With this tenuous lead, Irvine put its foot on the gas and finally gelled. Not every possession was perfect, but the high energy made each phase of the game shine.

While the offense generated good looks throughout the period, the Eaters’ defense dominated the Lions. No goals were allowed, and possession was constantly cycled back to the offense.

The synergy between the two units set each other up for success and propelled UCI to a comfortable fourth period. After two goals, the offense and defense simply played keep-away and watched the clock go to zero. 

This represents a good win for UCI, but not one that addresses their major challenges going forward. Irvine has struggled with their top-ranked opponents UCLA and USC, largely because of inconsistent team play. The Anteaters were not afforded the luxury of hanging around for three periods in those games, and things quickly got out of hand. 

In order to overcome these opponents in the future, they have to put their opponents away quickly and display their teamwork throughout the game. Irvine had the opportunity to do this against the USC Trojans on Saturday, Feb. 18, but fell short 5-16.


Benjamin Hendricks is a Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at bahendr1@uci.edu.