Women’s water polo dominates in home opener

Monique Muñiz

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YOU LOOKING AT ME: Matador Lindsy Nelson (5) had a season-high of five goals during Saturday’s Roadrunners game. The Matadors defeated Cal State Bakersfield 18 - 7. photo credit: Herber Lovato / Staff Photographer

The Matadors came out with two wins at Matador pool despite the rain, and two delayed games due to lighting and referees being late.

In their first home game of the season, the No. 12 CSUN water polo team (8-5) did not disappoint its fans, beating Cal State Bakersfield 18-7 and Occidental 10-5.

“We had home court advantage and it was more exciting having a lot of fans, and we were able to feed off the crowd.”  said freshmen Lindsy Nelson, who had a total of seven goals for the day. 

In CSUN’s first match up of the double-header was Cal State Bakersfield, which in its previous game, the Matadors won 13-11, the Roadrunners came out on the attack and started the scoring on a penalty shot to give them a 1-0 lead over the Matadors.

Northridge scored right after, but it wasn’t until about four minutes left in the first period when Matador Whitney Delgado scored, to give CSUN its first lead of the game at 3-2, thats when its offense started to dominate.

“The first couple of minutes were a little erratic because the officials were an hour late,” coach Marcelo Leonardi said. “But after those first couple of minutes, we started clicking offensively and exploded for seven goals.” 

The Matadors did not allow the Roadrunners to score any more goals in the first period and took a commanding 7-2 lead at the end of the period.

Both teams adjusted  in the second period with CSUN scoring three goals and Bakersfield adding two, to make it a 10-4 CSUN lead at the half.

“Defensively we did a great job of taking away their shooters and two-meter game,” Leonardi said.

CSUN led the rest of the game with 15-6 at the end of the third period and tallied three more goals in the fourth period to give the Matadors the win.

Goalie Nicole Concialdi started for Northridge and had 13 saves, one assist and one steal.

“Offensively when we start putting up the goals, it builds Nicole’s confidence, because she now has a lead and something to protect,” Leonardi said. “The shots she saw, she made great saves.”

The Matadors also came out victories against their second opponent of the day, Occidental Tigers, playing the game mostly in rain and fog.

“We knew they (Tigers) were going to come in and either belly up or come ready to fight because they had just beat a Division 1 team,” said two-meter Heidi Pettinger, who had four goals of the day. “They came out  ready to play and we needed to push every period.”

In the first period, the Matadors came out  with three quick goals, but the Tigers came back with two of their own and at the end of the period it was 4-2 CSUN.

“I think we came out a little flat in terms of our intensity,” Leonardi said. “Oxy (Occidental) did a nice job defensively matching up.”

By the half CSUN led 7-4 with Matador Sydney Sonoda scoring two goals in the period and Nelson with the other goal.

In the third period, Northridge tacked up two more goals by Sonoda, with one coming, with seven seconds left in the period to give the Matadors a 9-5 lead.

In the final period, Matador Celena Photopulos scored the lone goal to cap off their win.

Game Notes:
The Bakersfield game was the first time coach Leonardi played his whole bench in a game this season. Freshmen Jenny Jamison had her first collegiate career goal.