Water Polo: Stiff defense key in home win over Bucknell

Bob Garcia

On Breast Cancer Awareness day, the thirteenth-ranked Matadors (14-6) stifling defense was key in their 18-7 victory Thursday afternoon over the Bucknell Bison.

“I think overall it was our defense,” said head coach Marcelo Leonardi. “(We were) able to contain their weapons and early on our goal keeper (Kiernan Davis) was on with her four saves in the first quarter. Our first six and second six units slowly pushed the counter attack and were able to break (Bucknell) down.”

Northridge started off hot, scoring five of the game’s first six goals, which included a quick 3-0 burst led by two of junior attacker Melissa Doll‘s goals. She finished the game with four.

CSUN continued the scoring in the second period adding four more goals, giving up three goals to the Bison. In the second half, the Matadors really turned up the defensive intensity by only allowing two goals on seven shot attempts.

“(Defense) was something that I addressed at halftime,” said Leonardi. “We made adjustments and I thought we gave up too many goals (in) the first half. I think a little bit of it was defensive body positioning and (our) goalie made good adjustments and as a result we held them to two goals.”

Northridge in the second half would continue dominance on both ends of the pool by putting the game out of reach by scoring the first three goals of the third period which stretched their lead to 13-5 over Bucknell.

“The key to the second half defense was patience, communication and just
putting in the effort to press hard,” said sophomore center Marisa
, who had a team-high four goals for the game. “If the center
defender needed help to comeback ,(we) made sure to listen and to look
back to see who (else) needed help.”

The Matadors displayed a balanced attack with nine different players scoring at least one goal. Junior center Molly Henehan scored three goals with four other players each adding two goals .

“We were all excited to come out, play real hard and we just wanted get our fire back,” said Young. “It was just mostly about having fun and that’s what brought us out.”

It was first game of the CSUN’s double header with the second game against the Occidental College Tigers (4-11).