The Cal State Northridge women’s water polo team lost to eighth-ranked UC Irvine 7-5 at the Anteater Aquatics Complex on Wednesday night.
The loss dropped the 15th-ranked Matadors to 10-13 overall and 1-6 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UC Irvine improved tos 13-7 overall and 4-4 in MPSF play.
“We played them well,” said head coach Molly Barnes. “We had everything we needed, did what we had to do, but just didn’t put it away.”
Dayna Van Gorder and Kirra Kylander each scored two goals in the game. Chelsea Curran also scored a goal in the game. Goalie Jillian Stapf made 13 saves for Northridge.
“Jill had a great game,” Barnes said.
The Matadors got on the board first, with Van Gorder scoring in a man-up situation with 4:46 left in the first period. Irvine came back to tie the score with 2:02 left in the first period.
Just 46 seconds into the second period, Kylander put the Matadors up 2-1, in another man-up situation. The Anteaters answered with three straight goals, giving them a 4-2 lead at halftime.
Van Gorder quickly closed the gap for CSUN, scoring just 34 seconds into the third period. Irvine went back up by two at 5:01 in the third period, with a goal by Gianna Rossi. Kat Plummer extended that lead to 6-3 when she scored less than one minute later. The Matadors again closed in, on a goal by Curran with 3:53 left in the third period. Again, UCI answered, with Jessica Lewis scoring on a man-up play with 1:44 left in the third period.
Kylander scored the only goal of the fourth period, for a final score of 7-5.
The Matadors recently enjoyed their highest ranking ever, at 13th. Barnes said she doesn’t talk about that ranking because she thinks it was a “fluke.” Meanwhile, the Matadors held steady at 14th for about a month and just recently dropped to 15th. In order to climb in the national rankings, the team will have to beat someone in the MPSF and that won’t be easy, said Barnes.
“What we’ve accomplished in terms of the national polls – we’ve never had this much respect,” Barnes said.
The Matadors faced tough competition over the weekend when they returned home for two games. On Friday, Northridge faced second-ranked Stanford at 3 p.m. at Matador Pool.
Stanford was the NCAA champion in 2002 and has been the NCAA runnerup four times since 1997. The Cardinal comes to CSUN with a record of 18-3 overall and 6-1 in MPSF play.
Northridge played ninth-ranked San Jose State on Saturday at noon.