CSUN water polo: Matadors edge Aggies in first Big West Conference game

Monique Muñiz

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Matador Lindsy Nelson (5) and Heidi Pettinger (19) guard in front of their net in a 14-13 win over UC Davis in their first Big West Conference game. Photo Credit: Monique Muñiz / Sports Editor

Building confidence in a young CSUN team has been one of the main goals coming into Big West Play.

For the No. 17 Matador water polo team, it showed just how confident they are in a 14-13 win over No. 15 UC Davis at Matador Pool.

“I looked at Heidi (Pettinger) Sydney (Sonoda) and Whitney (Delgado) and as a coach you look at them and they looked confident, cool calm and collected,” coach Marcelo Leonardi said. “It was an emotional game, I was confident of who was in the water and I thought as a team we grew up, we learned how to finish a game.”

The Matadors had two weeks off to prior to facing the Aggies, which they lost to earlier in the season, 8-5.

“I think it was good playing them (UC Davis) before so we can prepare more for them this time. Honestly, all the girls came out firing today and we took it to them, which is what needed to happen,” said goalie Dana Harvey, who had 11 saves in the game.

UC Davis got on board first at the 6:54 mark of the first period, but CSUN came back and scored three straight goals to give it a 3-1 lead with 2:55 left in the first. The Aggies and Matadors both added a goal each to end the first with a 4-2 score.

In the second period, it was UC Davis which gained momentum and scored four goals while holding CSUN to just two to end the first half in a 6-6 tie.

“We didn’t panic we kept level headed and they had to play a comeback game, which is harder for them, and every time they scored on us, we capitalized on them,” Harvey said.

Coming into the third period, fans got to see an offensive explosion with nine total goals scored. Northridge finished with six and UC Davis with three to end the period 12-9. Big West leading scorer Delgado scored three goals in the period to give her 64.

The last period was a nail biter as UC Davis scored four unanswered goals with less than five minutes left in the game.

The Matadors scored two goals in the beginning of the period to give them a five-goal lead of 14-9 at the 5:11 mark. The Aggies made a push at the 4:30 mark to score their fourth goal in the period with the last one coming with 49 seconds left in the game.

CSUN held its ground on defense to hold on for its first Big West victory of the season.

“It is huge (the win), we had two weeks to prepare,” Leonardi said. “We were prepared for anything they threw at us and even though they scored those four goals at the end to get close it was hard for them to fully adjust to us.”

Game Notes:With three goals in the third period, Whitney Delgado surpassed former CSUN standout Chari Christopher for second place on the CSUN career goals list, giving her 179 career goals.