The 19th-ranked Cal State Northridge water polo team ended regular season play with a 12-8 loss to the UC Irvine Anteaters in Irvine, April 22.
With the loss, the Matadors drop to 12-19 overall, with a 1-11 mark in Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play.
“I thought we played really well,” said head coach Molly Barnes. “We should be proud because we put out a great effort.”
Sophomore 2 meter Allison Brookes led the Matador attack with four goals in the loss, increasing her goals of the season to 61.
Freshman driver Jessica Coy and senior 2 meter Heather van Hemert both tallied their first goals at the end of the first period of play.
By the end of the quarter, CSUN was trailing UCI 4-2. The Matadors were able to battle back into the game in the second quarter by scoring two goals, while holding the Anteaters to just one goal in the period.
At the end of the first half, the Matadors were within one goal, 5-4.
Van Hemert scored her second goal of the game during the third period at the 4:53 mark to tie the game at five. The Anteaters swiftly attacked 30 seconds later with a goal of their own, taking and holding the lead for the remainder of the match.
In the fourth and final period, UCI hammered in four straight goals to take a 12-6 lead.
Brookes and Coy dropped in two more goals for the Matadors in the final two minutes of the game as CSUN took the 12-8 defeat.
Senior goalie Graziella Caredda had 10 saves for the Matadors, adding to her save total of 246.
CSUN returns to Irvine next weekend for the MPSF Tournament, where the Matadors will be seeded No. 12 and will face off with Hawaii, which has clinched the fifth spot in the first round. The match is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. April 27 at UCI.
“In order to pull off the upset over Hawaii, every player would have to play out of their minds,” Barnes said.
In other water polo news, Barnes said that she signed Chelsea Curran to a national letter of intent to play for the Matadors. She will enroll at CSUN in the Fall 2006 and will be eligible to play for CSUN for the 2007 season.
Curran, who is from Chino and attended Ayala High School, is a four-year letter winner and was a caption during the 2006 season. She helped lead the Bulldogs to the Sierra League Championship all four seasons, and Ayala was the CIF Champions this season.
Curran was named the Sierra League MVP in 2003 and 2006, and earned the 2006 CIF Division 3 Player of the Year award. She also swam varsity for three seasons while at Ayala and served as team captain during her senior year.
In 2004, Curran competed on the Women’s Youth “B” Team. The following season, she received an 18 ‘ Under Junior Olympic All-American Honorable Mention, and was named to the 20 ‘ Under Women’s Open All-Tournament First team in 2006.
“It is a big signing for us,” Barnes said. “She will give us an immediate boost.”
Charles Keeranan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org