CSUN water polo opens Big West play at home against 49ers

    Whitney Delgado (9) leads the Matadors in scoring with 50 goals in 24 games this season. Photo Credit: Monique Muniz Staff Reporter

    After a two-week hiatus, No. 10 CSUN (19-5) jumps back into the pool to open Big West play against Long Beach State (7-11) this Saturday at home.

    “We are all really excited for our first conference game being at home,” defender Heidi Pettinger said. “We like the fact that we will have our fans there to see us play.”

    While CSUN has been out of action, the 49ers are currently on a three-game winning streak after beating Concordia (Calif.), California Baptists and Occidental this past weekend. Also the 49ers go against No. 1 ranked USC today before they head to Northridge.

    “The level they will be playing will be high, which might make them a little tired before our game Saturday,” utility player Kristin McLaughlin said.

    With CSUN having a break in the middle of the season, McLaughlin doesn’t feel they will be too rested.

    “Our practices are sometimes harder than the actual games,” McLaughlin said.

    The Matadors are currently on an eight-game winning streak due to their solid defense and offense. CSUN has scored 93 goals in the eight games and has held its opponents to only 34 goals.

    As for the first 24 games of the season, the Matadors have a total of 249 goals and have allowed 147 goals to the opposition.

    “It’s an even playing field for us to create scoring,” said attacker Whitney Delgado. “We are spread out in our goals and we are all threats.”

    Sophomore Delgado has a total of 50 goals, which has put her on the single season Top-10 list in CSUN history. Following her is Alison Pierce with 36 goals and Sydney Sonoda with 32.

    “We like to have a lot of different contributors to our team,” Delgado said. “Our opponents don’t really expect that coming into games.”

    The Matadors assist leaders are Kirra Kylander with 46 and Delgado with 24.

    Defensively, McLaughlin leads the team in steals with 26 and Sonoda and Pettinger both have 22 apiece.

    “Our team defense is nails down solid,” Pettinger said. “We are always helping each other and have our hands up at all time.”

    Goalies Jillian Stapf and Nicole Concialdi have a combined 233 saves so far in net.

    “It’s (defense) the best in the conference and our foundation,” McLaughlin said. “We match up against the right players during games.”

    The 49ers have had 28 goals in the last three games and have allowed only 17 to their opponents.  Krizia Cerda right now has 32 goals for the 49ers and goalie Kristen Stragier has 124 saves.

    “We have been preparing all this week and watching film on Long Beach State to see what we need to do to shut them down,” Pettinger said.