No. 10 CSUN water polo faces grueling back-to-back matches

Monique Muñiz

With their first Big West Conference game out of the way the Matador water polo team will now go head-to-head with UC Irvine at home on Friday and then go on the road to play No. 1 ranked USC on Saturday in a non-conference match.

CSUN (20-5) has had trouble going up against top notch competition, losing to four ranked teams this season. For USC (14-1) it’s been a different story, as they have played 12 ranked teams in their 14 games this season and its only loss came to No. 1 Stanford.

“It is the best team we will face all season,” head coach Marcelo Leonardi said of their upcoming battle against the Trojans. “It gives us an opportunity to see how good we can play against a team like USC. We are going in as underdogs, but there should be no pressure since it’s a non-conference game.”

The Matadors are preparing to continue their winning ways and add on to their nine-game winning streak against the Anteaters and the Trojans.

“Friday’s game against UC Irvine is much more important because it’s a conference game. Our weekly preparation has been watching film on UC Irvine during our practices,” Leonardi said.

The Matadors will rely on their strong defense followed by their offense to compete against their opposition. During the winning streak CSUN has only allowed 38 goals, while they have tacked up 104 goals.

CSUN will be playing their second Big West conference game at home, which might help them have momentum on their side.

“We feel really confident getting our first win of (the Big West season),” attacker Alyssa Goldie said. “It gives us more confidence going into our next games. We focus on their (UC Irvine’s) main shooters and what plays they run.”

Even with the Anteaters struggling in the last couple of games going 3-6 in their last nine games the Matadors are not underestimating their opponents.

“Irvine doesn’t take things lightly they are doing okay this season, but they been up and down,” goalie Jillian Stapf said.  “If we catch them on an up then it will be a tough game.”