Women’s water polo earns victory on Senior Day as Dorottya Telek scores her 100th goal of the season

Photo courtesy of CSUN Athletic Communications.

Edward Segal, Sports Editor

The pool area was packed on Senior Day for women’s water polo. Over a hundred fans came to watch the game against Cal State Fullerton, with many having to stand because there was not enough room on the bleachers. Even though only one player is graduating, it was a big day for Lacey Hall as her time with the women’s water polo team neared its finish.

“Words can’t really express how important Lacey Hall is to this program,” head coach Matt Warshaw said. “She does so many things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. She shows up every day, is the hardest worker on the team, and then all of her extracurriculars … She’s the ultimate ambassador to the program and representative in so many different ways. I don’t think there will ever be another Lacey Hall here.”

Hall received a framed posterboard, which contained two CSUN water polo caps and a photo of her playing the sport. She held it up as she took a photo with her family. Hall is the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee at CSUN, and was at a loss for words as she reflected on her time as a Matador.

“What I hope is that I made an impact on somebody,” Hall said. “One thing that I think is important is we’re doing a mental health initiative for May. If we can just reach one person and inspire someone to step up and be a leader, or just help somebody out, a lot of the things I do are people-driven, and I just want to help people.”

Hall is getting her bachelor’s in business management this semester, and plans to study for her master’s degree in business administration at Cal State Fullerton, with a goal of one day being an athletic director. She also plans to switch sides and play water polo for the Titans.

The game on Saturday also presented a chance for Dorottya Telek to reach 100 goals scored on the season. She only needed a hat trick to reach the century mark. This all took place as the Matadors took to the swimming pool for a chance to clinch the No. 7 seed with a win.

It was “the biggest game of the year,” as sports information director Nick Bocanegra put it.

The Matadors were coming off a cold streak that started in their first game of conference play. They had lost seven of their last eight games and were 0-6 against Big West Conference opponents heading into the match against the Titans.

The game was a unique opportunity for the Matadors to return to the win column, as Cal State Fullerton water polo is in its inaugural season and has the lowest record in the conference.

The Matadors took advantage, outscoring the Titans in every quarter.

Telek, a center from Hungary, opened the scoring a little over two minutes in, which put her two goals shy of 100. Anna Pal, who is also from Hungary, doubled CSUN’s lead four minutes later, before Gabrielle Zaretskiy got one back for the Titans with four seconds left in the first.

The Matadors exploded for four more goals in the second, one of which was scored by Telek. This made their lead 6-1 at the half, a lead they would never relinquish.

Hall put in her final regular season goal as a Matador in the third quarter to put the Matadors up 8-2. After that, Warshaw put the starters on the bench for the final five minutes of the third, leaving the crowd wondering if Telek would get the chance to score once more.

For Hall, that was the seventh goal of her Matadors career and her third of the season.

Warshaw put the starters back in when the fourth period began, and it took only 52 seconds for Telek to crack 100. She earned a penalty shot thanks to a personal foul by the Titans, and had no difficulty putting the ball in the back of the net.

Telek knew she was approaching the century mark. She started keeping track a few games prior.

“I started counting back around 92,” Telek said. “I tried to see if I could make it to 100 the rest of the games, and luckily I did, so, it’s kind of nice.”

Approximately 50 days ago, Telek broke CSUN’s single-season scoring record when she notched her 81st goal in a victory over Villanova. As she approached that milestone, she counted down just like she did now. Now that she added another record to her resume, she is focused on the upcoming Big West tournament.

“I can see that everyone is kind of exhausted with school, with practices, with the season, but this is why we are practicing every day for hours, to be able to push through these last few games even if we are tired, if we are not really there mentally,” Telek said. “We have to do it together. This is really about how prepared we are.”

The Matadors’ victory means they secured the No. 7 seed in the conference and will face the second-seeded Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Friday in the first round of the playoffs.

“It was really crucial that we got this home win today on Senior Day, and we got a little bit of chemistry going for the big weekend next week,” Warshaw said. “We played Irvine, Hawaii, and had a great first half. We’re going to prep and hopefully put a whole game together next week, rather than just a first half.”

The Matadors have been outscored by a total of 25 goals in the second halves of their six conference losses. The Rainbow Warriors, ranked fifth in the nation, took down the Matadors 12-3 in March after outscoring CSUN by six in the second half.

CSUN hasn’t beaten Hawaii since 2015. The Matadors lost the last seven times they played the Rainbow Warriors, and have a 4-18 record against Hawaii in their 21-year history.