Water Polo

No. 23 Aztec Water Polo Falls in Harper Cup

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SAN DIEGO – Seniors Kendall Houck and Danni Croteau scored two and one goals, respectively, but on the pairs Senior Day, the No. 23-ranked San Diego State water polo team came up short in a 12-9 decision against No. 11 UC San Diego in the 2024 edition of the Harper Cup on Sunday afternoon at Aztec Aquaplex. 
In addition to the goals from their seniors, the Aztecs offense was paced by Claudia Valdes and her 15th hat trick of the season. It was her fourth hat trick in the last five games and with her three goals, she is the first player in Scarlet and Black to score at least 70 goals in a season since Amber Pezzolla tallied 71 in 2013.  Shannon Murphy added two goals, and Amanda Chambers finished with one.
Before the Aztec could settle into the game, the Tritons had scored the first goal, just 15 seconds in. Murphy answered at the 7:10 mark, but after a pair of goals gave UCSD a 3-1 lead, Valdes scored her first of the day with 2:13 to go in the period. The Tritons got the final goal of the initial stanza and led SDSU 4-2.
San Diego State (15-14) tied the game in the first 99 seconds of the second quarter. Both goals belonged to Houck who banged the back of the cage at the 7:45 and 6:21 marks. UC San Diego (17-11) went back in front 5-4, 20 seconds later and on Croteau's goal, the contest was tied 5-5 with 5:21 to go before the half.  However, the Tritons took control of the game in the last five minutes of the second quarter scoring four times, holding the Aztecs off the scoreboard, and leading 9-5 at the break.
Coming out halftime, Valdes scored at the 7:31 mark, her second of the game, and Murphy joined her with her second of the contest 27 seconds later to make the score 9-7. But UCSD got the last two goals of the quarter and led 11-7 with eight minutes remaining.
Valdes completed the hat trick with 6:05 to play to draw SDSU to 11-8, but 31 seconds later the Tritons got the goal back. The final tally came from Chambers with 3:38 to play for the final score of 12-9.
UC San Diego got five goals from Kendall Thomas and goalie Lexi Stahl, in 32 minutes, had seven saves against 9 goals in earning the win.
Claudia Valdes has scored 70 goals and is the first Aztec since Amber Pezzolla finished 2013 with 71 goals, to score at least 70 in a season.
UC San Diego: 4-5-2-1 - 12
San Diego State: 2-3-2-2 - 9
UC San Diego: Thomas (5), So. Munatones (2), Christl (1), Doak (1), Moll (1), Sy. Munatones (1), Okumura (1)
San Diego State Goals: Valdes (3), Houck (2), Murphy (2), Chambers (1), Croteau (1)
UC San Diego: Stahl (7)
San Diego State Saves: Ahovelo (10)