Water Polo: No. 19 Long Beach State upsets No. 14 CSUN 11-8 in last conference game before tourney

Monique Muñiz

WEAK WALL: Matador Dana Harvey continues her recent struggles at net as she only made six saves in Sunday’s 11-8 loss against LBSU. She made nine saves in Saturday’s 9-8 loss against UC Irvine. Photo Credit: Herber Lovato / Assistant Photo Editor

Long Beach, Calif. – Rebuilding last season’s No. 1 defense has been rough for the Matadors and it came down to their last Big West Conference games that the defense needed to show up.

That did not happen as the No. 14 CSUN water polo team lost its last Big West Conference match to No. 19 Long Beach State, 11-8.

“With our team, if we are not on defensively, we break down and we are going to get scored on,” coach Marcelo Leonardi said.

In the first period, CSUN came out on board first with a power play goal by Sydney Sonoda with 30 seconds into the game, but the 49ers came back with a goal by Melissa Matheson at the 1:51 mark.

Long Beach State took its first lead of the game at 3-2, but the period ended with a goal by Whitney Delgado to end the period, 3-3.

The 49ers tallied up the goals with three straight goals at the start of the second period with CSUN earning one to end the half, 6-4.

LBSU continued its offensive attack by adding four goals in the third, with two being on power plays, to end the period, 10-5, with a lone goal by Matador Leah Janke.

“There was just pieces of the defense that didn’t show up today for whatever reason. I don’t know if it was focus or execution, but they didn’t come to play and as a result, we buried ourselves in a hole,” Leonardi said.

CSUN was trying to claw its way back in the last period as Northridge scored two quick goals to make it 10-7 with six minutes left, but another power play goal for the 49ers and a last goal by Matador Delgado sealed the end for Long Beach State.

“This game was a disaster from start to finish, our lazy defense, our shots not going in, we just didn’t show up,” Heidi Pettinger said.

GAME NOTES: CSUN (3-2) stays tied with UC Santa Barbara (3-2) in second place in in the Big West, but the Matadors win the tiebreaker to take the No. 2 seed in BWC due to their win over the Gauchos at Matador Pool earlier this month. With the two losses this weekend CSUN ended its two-year reign as BWC regular season champions.