Tigers struggle early at Stanford Invite but finish strong
The No. 12 Pacific women’s water polo team faced stiff competition over the weekend at the Stanford Invitational Tournament, dropping their first three games to No. 5 California, No. 8 UC Davis and No. 10 UC Irvine, respectively. In their final match, however, the Tigers faced another quality opponent in No. 15 Loyola Marymount and emerged victorious.
Saturday’s first match pitted the Tigers against the Cal Bears. The Tigers did have an early 2-1 lead after goals by attackers Viktoria Szmodics ‘19 and Karolina Hlavata ‘18, but it would be the last time the Tigers were in front. The Bears took off in the second quarter and did not let up until the third, ripping off 10 straight goals at one point. Cal ended up with the victory, downing the Tigers 19-8. Attacker Rachel Krieger ’18 scored twice in the game for the Tigers, as did Szmodics.
Later on Saturday, Pacific took on No. 8 UC Davis. The game was competitive early on, as the teams traded the lead a number of times before heading into the half at a 6-6 tie. The Aggies lived up to their No. 8 ranking, though, when they exploded with five consecutive goals to start the second half. The Tigers could not recover from the deficit and ended up falling 10-14. Krieger pulled off a hat trick for the Tigers, while Hlavata and Szmodics each scored twice.
The Tigers suffered another loss on Sunday morning, this time at the hands of No. 10 UC Irvine by a score of 11-6. The Tigers kept the game close in the first period and fought back at points late in the game, but ultimately could not wrestle the lead from the Anteaters. Szmodics again scored two goals for Pacific, and goalkeeper Meghan Nee ’17 collected eight saves in the contest.
The Tigers finally broke through and ended the three-game skid later on Sunday with a 5-4 victory over No. 15 Loyola Marymount. Pacific had to grind out the victory over the Lions, who led 3-2 at halftime. Szmodics tied the game with a goal in the third quarter, and also had a steal that set up Hlavata’s game-winner in the fourth. Attacker Ellen Tiedemann ’17 led the Tigers with a hat trick, and goalkeeper Alexis Hollinrake ’18 recorded 10 saves.
The team will next play on Saturday at the Davis Shootout, where they will have a chance to take revenge on the Cal Bears at 11:30 a.m.
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