Triton Water Polo Falls to Loyola Marymount

    WOMEN’S WATER POLO — The UCSD women’s water polo team faced Loyola Marymount for the first time since the Lions ended the Tritons’ season last year. UCSD fell into an early deficit and was unable to climb out of the hole, falling to the Lions 13-7.

    Last year, in the Western Water Polo Association conference championship game, the UCSD women’s water polo team fell to Loyola Marymount in a close match. The Tritons finished 10th in their home tournament a week before, while LMU finished second. The No. 18 Tritons came in looking to upset the No. 6 Lions this past Friday at Canyonview Pool.

    “This is a new team, and I was really stoked tonight, because I wanted us to be tested,” head coach Brad Kreutzkamp said. “They did not give up all game long, and that run they passed there in the third quarter was awesome.”

    At the beginning of the match, the teams traded goals, with LMU scoring first in the first minute of the game. The Tritons returned the favor with under three minutes to play in the quarter, but the Lions ran off three goals in the last two minutes to make the score 4-1 at the end of the quarter.

    LMU also scored first in the second quarter, running off four unanswered points before the Tritons could mount any force.

    “LMU is smart; they’re really proficient in every part of the game,” Kreutzkamp said. “If we give them any little crack, they’ll take advantage of it.”

    Senior attacker Felicia Orozco scored a left-handed shot past the goalkeeper to end LMU’s scoring onslaught. Senior attacker Hanalei Crowell also scored in the quarter, but the Lions still went into the half with a four-goal advantage.

    Coming out of the half, the Lions scored first in the third quarter to take their largest lead of the night. Orozco then scored her second goal of the matchup to bring it back to four, but shortly after, the Lions took a five-point lead again.

    Senior hole set Kirsten Bates was the first to ignite the Tritons’ initiative. She scored to make the score 9-5 with three minutes left in the quarter, and an LMU ejection led to Orozco’s third goal. Triton goalkeeper Kristen Oshtosh blocked a point blank shot, and a fast break goal by freshman hole set Melissa Bartow reduced the gap to 9-7.

    “We got off to a slow start and had to dig ourselves out of it a little bit today,” Kreutzkamp said. “I was really happy about how we bounced back in that third quarter.”

    After Oshtosh made two more great blocks, the Tritons were in position to bring it within one at the start of the fourth, but referees’ confusion gave the ball over to the Lions, who made it 10-7 at the start of the fourth. The Tritons’ energy faded shortly after the mismanaged finish, and their play suffered.

    “The confusion on our end of the pool after the whistle really hurt us in that situation,” Kreutzkamp said. “I thought that was a little unfortunate, but I thought we were still in a good position to have a chance to win the game at that point.”

    In the final quarter, the Lions scored three unanswered goals, and their goalkeeper stopped strong shots from Crowell and Orozco to shut the Tritons down.

    Orozco led the Tritons with three goals on the night, while Bartow scored twice. Ostosh tallied eight saves for the game.

    The loss is the first for the Tritons in conference play, and stand at 3-1 in conference play and 6-5 overall.

    The Tritons next play at the UC Irvine invitational tournament Feb. 26-27 and will face off against USC in their first match. The Tritons return home Friday, March 11, when they square off against Cal State Bakersfield at Canyonview Pool.

    Readers can contact Tyler Nelson at [email protected]


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