After nine days without a match, the 17th ranked Cal State Northridge girl’s water polo team lost a physical one, 4-3 against the 11th ranked Anteaters from UC Irvine, March 29.
The game was delayed 45 minutes because there was only one referee at Matador Pool.
When the match began, the two teams remained scoreless during an extremely physical couple of minutes. Then, with 2:16 left in the first quarter, UCI sophomore Robyn Kaake netted the first of her game-high four goals, extending her scoring streak to 12 games.
However, with one second remaining and UCI winning 1-0, sophomore Lynzy Klein threw a desperation heave from halfway across the pool that went into the net as time expired tying the score at one, as the first quarter ended.
After the teams switched sides to begin the second quarter, UCI kept the physical play and good defense on. Anteater freshman goalie, Lauren Machanis shut down the Matador offense in the second by making four saves.
The only goal scored in the second quarter was by Kaake with 3:31 left, after she shot the ball, had it deflected and watched it float into the net, making it 2-1 UCI.
The Matadors tied the match with 5:55 remaining when Klein scored on an ejection goal, her second of the day.
“I have been working on my shot in practice,” Klein said. “With my rotator cuff sprained, I have had to sit out a lot so I am more refreshed.”
But with 1:59 remaining, Kaake scored her third goal of the day, giving UCI a brief 3-2 lead. CSUN, making a habit of scoring late in quarters during this match, did so again when junior Chari Christopher threw one right past Machanis with only 18 seconds left in the quarter, tying the score at 3-3 entering the final period.
Both teams, goalies especially, would tighten the defense even more in the final period. During the period, Machanis made three of her eight stops, while junior Graziella Caredda made two of her six stops for the Matadors.
But with under two minutes to play, following a Northridge ejection, Kaake would score her final goal of the day to give UCI a 4-3 lead.
“She (Kaake) was the one player that we tried to shut down, but I guess we were not very effective,” Head Coach Molly Barnes said. “She had a couple of good shots on set that are hard to block, and no matter what we did, we played our defense right. We had our crash coming. She just got some good shots off.”
CSUN had numerous opportunities in the final 1:58 to tie the score again, but could not do so. With the loss, the Matadors record falls to 10-11 overall, including a 2-8 record in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Anteaters improve their record to 11-9 overall, and 4-5 in the MPSF. CSUN is now 0-7 lifetime against UCI and 0-1 against the Anteaters at Matador Pool.
“We did not play very well today,” Barnes said. “We were very disorganized. We threw the ball away a lot, and you cannot beat a team like Irvine if you’re constantly making plays like that.”
The Matadors next six matches will be on the road against four ranked teams. CSUN will compete at the Loyola Marymount Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, the Matadors face UC Santa Cruz at 10:40 a.m., and Redlands at 1:55 p.m. On Saturday, CSUN plays 19th ranked UC San Diego at 11:45 a.m., and 20th ranked Cal Baptist at 4:05 p.m.
All matches will be played at the Burns Aquatics Center on the LMU campus. The Matadors final home match will be against 18th ranked Arizona State on April 23.