CSUN water polo impresses in home debut

Monique Muñiz

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All-American goalie Jillian Stapf (1) is all defense as she blocks the ball shot at her from the Seahawks Thursday. Photo Credit: Monique Muniz / Staff Reporter

After 20 road games CSUN’s No. 10 ranked water polo team (17-5) did not disappoint its fans at the home opener this past Thursday, as they swept Wagner (8-9) and Occidental (1-11) in a doubleheader.

“The crowd was spectacular, it was by far the most people I seen at a home game in the five years I’ve been here,” said head coach Marcelo Leonardi. “It was a great turn out.”

In the first game CSUN and Wagner were head-to-head on defense but CSUN came up big in the second quarter and won 11-5.

“It took a little time to adjust to them,” Leonardi said. “They (Seahawks) did a good job on us defensively in the first quarter.”

The Matadors and Seahawks were tied after one quarter 1-1 before Wagner took its only lead in the game when a floater went over goalie Jillian Stapf to make it 2-1. After that the CSUN offense exploded and the tempo changed. CSUN scored five goals to give it a 6-2 lead going into the half.

CSUN scored five more goals in the second half and allowed Wagner to score only three more goals.

“We subbed and that changed things in the game because the bench players saw what we needed to do,” said junior and two-meter Chelsea Curran about how Wagner played against them in the first quarter.

Occidental was no match for CSUN, as the Matadors won their second game of a doubleheader 16-7.

The offense again came out dominating, as the Matadors scored three goals in the first two minutes of the game. They scored four more goals in the first quarter to give them a comfortable 7-0 lead and by the half CSUN led 11-0.

Going into the second half CSUN added five goals for an easy win.

The Tigers got on board in the third and they added six more goals in the second half. In the end they made an offensive charge scoring four goals in the fourth, but it was too late.

“We could tell Occidental change their game in the second half” said Curran.

The Matadors had a defensive lapse in the second half, but they were able to hold on to the win.

“We had some breaks in our defense, but we learn from each goal that comes in and try not to let the same mistakes happen again,” said freshman two-meter Sabrina Anonas.

CSUN’s attacker Whitney Delgado continues to be strong offensively as she has a total of 46 goals. Matadors two-meter Heidie Pettinger also had four goals in the series.

Defensively the Matadors had 22 steals and goalies Stapf and Nicole Concialdi combined for 25 saves in the games.

“We got to show our family, teachers, and friends who we are as a team and what we can do,” said Curran.