CSUN water polo heads to the Aztec Invitational this weekend

Monique Muñiz

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FIRST TIME: The Matadors will play their first game at the San Diego State Invitational this weekend. Photo Credit:Monique Muñiz / sports editor

The Matadors will have another tough schedule this weekend as they head down to San Diego for the Aztec Invitational.

The CSUN water polo team will face No. 4 Hawaii yet again, San Jose State, UC San Diego and San Diego State in the two-day tournament.

Last time, Northridge faced Hawaii it stayed close by trailing only by one at the end of the first period and were behind by three goals by halftime.

At the start of the third period, the Matadors made an offensive surge by scoring two quick goals, but the Rain Warriors proved too big an opponent and scored eight goals to win the game.

“We are trying to improve our third quarter. We made mistakes that led to their (Hawaii) goals last time and we are working on those mistakes in practice,” said senior Sydney Sonoda. “Unfortunately, we had some defensive break downs, but we hope to get better.” 

Following the Hawaii game, CSUN will face San Jose State (10-8). The Spartans are on a two-game winning streak after defeated Big West foes UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State.

“We have seen them (Spartans) play before, but we play that game like any other game. We look at who is their leading scorer and matchup against who we need to,” Sonoda said, referring to the Spartans recent success against Big West teams. “We will be prepared though, we face Hawaii first and in back of our minds we know we have San Jose next and then we take it game after game.”

Leading the Spartans are Timi Molnar and Adriana Vogt with 39 goals apiece and goalkeeper Meagan Minson with 167 saves.

Starting Sunday, the Matadors will go up against No. 18 UC San Diego. The Matadors know how important it is to come out strong and not show any fatigue in the two games they play.

“It is important that we come out with the same intensity that we do on Saturday and maybe even a little more because it is the second day where you see teams getting tired, so we have to push more,” Heidi Pettinger said.

UC San Diego has played four Big West teams, with their only conference win coming against the 49ers on Feb. 4. The Tritons just coming off a 13-10 win over Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 27.

In net is Kristen Ostosh with 72 saves and two assists. Leading the scoring is Hanalei Crowell with 32 goals and 16 assists.

The last game of the invitational for CSUN is against No. 9 San Diego State (10-7). The Aztecs have beaten four Big West teams with their last game being against UC Irvine 6-4.

Leading the Aztecs’ offense is Leanne Ford, who has 28 goals, and Amber Pezzolla, who leads in steals with 43. Holding the cage is Kelly Campoli with 177 saves.

Northridge knows it needs to play its game and not think about opponents’ last games because anything can happen.

“We can’t think about being too overconfident or under confident because if we do, that may affect our game,” said two-meter Pettinger. “We have to take each game as a whole new game and play to win.”