Water polo: Northridge heads to Cal Lutheran Invitational

Monique Muñiz

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WHO'S OPEN: The Matadors will participate in the Cal Lutheran Invitational this weekend and will face non-conference opponents. Photo Credit: Monique Muñiz / Sports Editor

The Matadors are coming off a disappointing 1-3 series and now will try to bounced back in the Cal Lutheran Invitational held this weekend.

The Cal State Northridge water polo team (9-8) will face four different conference opponents this week with the first being against Concordia, who they faced already. Then they will go up against Wagner, Cal State Monterey Bay and Chapman.

The inexperience of the freshmen was especially evident last weekend when the team participated at the UC Irvine Invitational. The young Matadors made critical mistakes that had a part in the losses.

“We are still learning and the more we practice and get to know each other we will get better,” said freshman Jenny Jamison. “We are still in the process of playing with each other and it’s going to take time for us freshmen to have solid confidence in ourselves and I think that is the main thing, the confidence.”

In this weekend’s invitational, Northridge seeks to come out with fewer mistakes and improve its overall game.

“We never want to underestimate the teams we play, but hopefully we can develop our game and use more of the team (players) and get the experience and confidence we need in these games, so when we play higher level teams we will have more depth,” said senior Jessica Goforth.

Saturday’s Matchups
Northridge’s first opponent will be the Concordia Eagles (8-8). Earlier in the season, the Matadors beat them, 16-10, at the Cal Baptist Invitational.

The Matadors know they can’t overlook any of their opponents, even those they have already faced.

“They (Eagles) can come back at us and come at us hard,” said Jamison, who scored her first collegiate goal in the second game against Cal State Bakersfield. “We don’t want to say it is going to be an easy macthup just because we played them already.”

In the last game, seven different Matadors scored with both Whitney Delgado and Heidi Pettinger recording four each.

Leading the Eagles is driver Lybov Tchougounova, who already has 60 goals on 113 attempts, 14 assists and 23 steals. Following her is two-meter Katherine Manderino with 35 goals and guarding the cage is Chante’ Lundskog with 94 saves.

On the second game of a double-header on Saturday, CSUN will face the Wagner Seahawks (8-2).

Lauren French leads the Seahawks with 20 goals and Chelsea Beck follows with 21 assist in 10 games.

Starting at goalie for Wagner is Laura Kabach with 76 and 16 steals.

Sunday’s Matchups
The Matadors will take on another double-header, first playing the Cal State Monterey Bay Otters (5-8) of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.

The final game of the series for CSUN will be against the Division III Chapman Panthers (2-2).

Chapman has defeated two ranked Division III teams in No. 8 Grove City College and No. 10 University of La Verne.

The Matadors know they will continue to build bonds as a team and get better by the time they go into Big West Conference games.

“We will continue to grow all this season, compared to last year when the chemistry was already there. Even for me, it is kind of new and having to fill in the role of being a starter, which I didn’t last season,” said Goforth, who had three goals at the UC Irvine Invitational. “Hopefully we will peak at the right time and be successful.”