Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomeSportsUCI Women’s Water Polo Prevails Against Long Beach 11-9

UCI Women’s Water Polo Prevails Against Long Beach 11-9

- advertisement -

The UC Irvine women’s water polo team (17-6, 7-0) defeated Long Beach State (17-7, 5-2), 11-9, at the Anteater Aquatic Center on Saturday, April 22. With this win, the Anteaters secured the top spot in the Big West and finished their perfect season in conference play.

Irvine’s strategy mirrored their play over their current nine-game winning streak, controlling the tempo of the game and never letting the opponent build momentum.

Despite taking an early two-goal lead, the Anteaters allowed the Beach to score four unanswered goals between the end of the first period and the beginning of the second. None of these goals came easy for Long Beach, who relied on individual speed and shot-making rather than methodical sets.

As more of these plays broke down, the Irvine defense was able to draw multiple offensive fouls, which set up scoring opportunities for the ‘Eater offense, which quickly tied the game at 4-4.Having tested Long Beach offensively and defensively, the Anteaters were comfortable letting the game come to them and capitalizing on their opponent’s mistakes.

The Beach pushed the Anteaters at the beginning of the third period with renewed energy. As soon as the energy-sagged Irvine pounced, they were able to establish a healthy 8-6 lead at the end of the period.

This trend continued into the end of the game, with the Anteaters happy to preserve their small advantage while playing smart and reserved. Irvine committed no fouls in the game and won the exclusion battle 13-7, meaning that they had an extra woman in the water almost twice as long as Long Beach.

The final score of 11-9 does not convey how much the Anteaters controlled the game. Despite converting zero of their three penalty shots and multiple balls just getting away from them in the sprint, Irvine led for the last eleven minutes of the game.

Such a strong win bodes well for their chances at the Big West Championships beginning Friday, April 28 in Santa Barbara, where they will take on the CSU Fullerton Titans in the first round.


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