Coming out fast and firing in goals at a furious speed, the 13th-ranked Matadors (20-8, 2-1 BWC) women’s water polo team fended off 20th-ranked Pacific’s (15-8, 0-1) mid-game surge and came away with a 9-6 win to finish off a perfect three-for-three homestand Saturday afternoon.
Scoring three times within the first two minutes of the game, Northridge looked as if it was going to cruise to victory over a seemingly overmatched Tigers team.
Led by sophomore center Marisa Young, CSUN would head into the second quarter up 4-0, aided by two of Young’s three goals on the day.
The next two quarters were not as friendly to the Matadors as the Tigers rebounded and start putting balls into the net. Pacific outscored Northridge in the second quarter 2-1, getting on the board early in the quarter and scoring their second goal with seven seconds left before halftime.
“I’m not sure if they figured something out, or we just had a quick lull, but it was two quality opponents going at it,” Young said.
Northridge was unable to come out of halftime and do anything to separate themselves from the Tigers. For the third straight period a team scored a goal within the first minute of play. Pacific came out looking to even the score with the Matadors and scored the only two goals of the period in the first and sixth minute.
“Pacific’s defense was very strong and we just needed to get our shots on cage and needed to be patient and play our game,” Young said.
Ahead by only one goal heading into the fourth quarter and being held scoreless for 10 minutes, the Matadors struck first on a goal by junior attacker Celena Photopulos within 30 seconds.
Pacific would get the next two goals by freshman two-meters Gracie Smith, tying the game for the first time of the day with 5:32 left to play.
Answering back, Young scored the game winning goal, bouncing the ball underneath Pacific junior goalkeeper Michelle Relton’s right arm with 3:48 left to play. The Matadors would tack on two more goals for extra measure over the next two minutes, winning the game 9-6.
CSUN sophomore goalkeeper Kiernan Davis ended the game with 12 saves to Relton’s nine. Six different Matadors scored at least one goal, including two by senior attacker Leah Janke.
“It’s exciting. It’s a good start to our (Big West) season and it really shows that what we’ve been doing and how hard we’ve been working has paid off. I’m just having fun,” Young said.
Northridge has now won five games in a row and will head on the road for a three game trip against Big West opponents Long Beach State, UC Irvine and Hawaii before their final game at home against UC Santa Barbara on April 19.