The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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UC Irvine prevails over CSUN in women’s water polo clash

UC Irvine utility Airian Grisham, 4, looks to throw the ball into the goal as CSUN goalkeeper Meghan Lopez, 1, gets ready to block on Friday, March 15, 2024, at the Matador Pool in Northridge, Calif.

A Big West match between UC Irvine and CSUN on Friday afternoon unfolded. The Anteaters showcased their dominance both offensively and defensively and their command in the pool was palpable,

CSUN (16-11, 0-2 Big West) lost its Big West home opener to UC Irvine (12-9, 1-1 Big West). From the outset, CSUN struggled to gain a foothold in the game as Irvine countered every goal the Matadors scored. UC Irvine seized control from the start, kicking off the game with a 5-1 lead, maintaining their dominance, and holding their lead throughout the match. UC Irvine clinched a 15-8 win on the road, largely thanks to the pivotal contributions from Anteater attackers Gracie Helberg and Brooke Hourigan, who each scored two goals.

After the game, CSUN head coach Matt Warshaw expressed his solution for improving the Matadors’ defense.

“We have to lock in defensively,” Warshaw said. “We were giving up too many goals and weren’t capitalizing on the other side, and we need to work on that.”

CSUN had a cold first period, scoring just one goal. Irvine ended the quarter on a 4-0 run to put the Matadors down 5-1. CSUN played much better in the second quarter, with three Matadors scoring to cut the deficit to three. Matador goalkeeper Meghan Lopez scored the final goal of the first half with one second left to take CSUN into halftime trailing by three.

Both teams traded goals to open the second half, leaving the Matadors down 8-5. Even though the Matadors scored three goals in the third quarter, the Anteaters’ offense toppled them with five goals and ended the third quarter ahead 12-7. Irvine netted a goal with 30 seconds left to take a commanding five-point lead to end the third quarter.

UC Irvine had five players score two or more goals, including the team’s top scorer, Maja Layden, who recorded three goals. Meanwhile, the Matadors had four players score one goal in the matchup, leaving Helena Sandhagen and Anna Pal as the lone players to record multiple goals.

Warshaw said the team needs to prepare for challenges like this against top competition.

“We’re capable of beating any team when focused,” Warshaw said. “The reality is there were just some little possessions where the offense struggled, and we didn’t have the ball where we wanted it.”

With CSUN falling to UC Irvine, the Matadors are on a three-game losing streak for the second time this season. CSUN is off to a good start but will need to step up its play as the Big West conference games continue.

CSUN will look to avoid a four-game losing streak at Hawai’i (13-3, 1-0 Big West) on Saturday, March 23.

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