Water polo will head to the UC Irvine Tournament to face Hawaii

Monique Muñiz

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With a home opener sweep over the weekend, the Matadors now go on the road to play at the UC Irvine Tournament for a weekend series and will first face No. 5 Hawaii.

“I heard Hawaii is really good,” said freshman Molly Henehan. “But I think if we continue to work hard this week and push to our goals, we will be okay and hopefully we can win.”

Over the weekend, CSUN used all its players and Henehan says it has been a great experience for the freshmen to get a chance to play.

“I love my team and we are really good together and we mesh well,” said Henehan, who has four goals and five steals. “It isn’t as scary as the first game.”

One thing the freshmen had to adjust to is the tempo of collegiate water polo.

“Sometimes I get caught off guard with the speed, but being able to adjust to it is easy now,” Henhan said.

Northridge will face a tough non-conference opponent in Hawaii, who is 3-2,  on Saturday. The Rainbow Wahine’s three wins were over San Jose State, No. 13 Indiana and Arizona State.

“Our team has played them before and they are a really good team,” goalkeeper Nicole Concialdi. “Right now they are No. 5 in their league, but I feel if we are on all aspects, we have a really good chance (to win).”

If the Matadors defeat Hawaii, they will face No. 4 Cal Berkeley later in the day. If they lose, they will go head-to-head with Big West rival UC Santa Barbara.
But Northridge’s main focus for the tournament is taking on the Rainbow Wahine.

“It is definitely our focus (Hawaii game),” said Melissa Doll, who has 11 goals and 11 assists. “We come in and work on the board and go through everything and we are just going to take it one day at a time. Hopefully everyone brings their A game and push them (Hawaii) and win.”

For the Rainbow Wahine, Monika Eggens leads the team in goals with 13 and nine steals. In net for Hawaii is Serena Bredin, who has 37 saves and three steals in five games.

If the Matadors want to keep an edge on Hawaii, they will need their defense to step up.

The defense, which was No. 1 in Big West last season, is coming along and some of the players feel it is getting better with each game played.

“We still have work to do, but we’ve come a long ways from where we started and I am confident in my players and my defense in front of me,” said Concialdi, who has 83 saves in nine games.  

If Northridge can defend well, the offense can take care of the rest. Leading CSUN is junior Whitney Delgado, who has 32 goals and 19 assists and is followed by senior Sydney Sonoda with 24 goals and 14 assists in 13 games.

The UC Irvine Tournament will run through Sunday and will determine which team CSUN faces that day after Saturday’s results.