Water Polo

Water Polo Moves on in GCC Tourney in 16-9 Win

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. – No. 23-ranked and 4-seeded in the 2024 Golden Coast Conference Championship Tournament, the San Diego State water polo team, took a 3-1 lead in the first six minutes of its quarterfinal game against 5-seed California Baptist and cruised to a 16-9 victory on Friday afternoon at Sullivan Aquatic Center.
With the win, SDSU (16-14) improves to 5-0 in quarterfinal games in the GCC Tournament and moves to 3-4 overall as the 4-seed in the event. San Diego State improves to 26-2 all-time against the Lancers, has won each of its three games against CBU this season, and has won 24 straight against the program dating back to April 13, 2001.
The Aztecs offense was led by Mimi Stoupas' season-high matching four goals. Hannah Bell set a new game-high with two scores, which was also the total for Amanda Chambers and Rose Kanemy. Sammi Byers, Mary Comiskey, Danni Croteau, Kendall Houck, Makena Macedo, and Claudia Valdes pitched in with a goal each. Ava Ratajczak was the back line of a Scarlet and Black defense which held California Baptist (11-18) to just 1-of-12 on the power play while stopping a season-high 14 shots. 
Trailing 1-0 after 51 seconds, the Aztecs scored back-to-back goals starting with a Valdes strike at the 6:20 mark. It was her 71st of the year and moved the Madrid, Spain native into a tie for ninth on the program's single season scoring list. That was followed by Kanemy's goal 44 seconds later. Stoupas made it 3-1, off an assist by Kanemy, with 2:23 remaining in the quarter, and Comiskey pushed the lead to three goals, 4-1 at the 1:20 mark, with Chambers being credited with an assist on the score. CBU got the last goal of the quarter and the game was 4-2 in favor of San Diego State after eight minutes.
In the second quarter, the Aztecs defense was especially stout, holding CBU off the scoreboard while finding the back of the net twice. On an assist from Stoupas, Chambers scored the team's first goal of the period, at the 3:08 mark. Then with 2:25 to play before the break, Macedo dropped a pass off to Bell who banged the back of the cage to make it 6-2 which was the score at the intermission.
Out of the break, both team's offenses were clicking, each scoring five times in the third period. Houck got the first goal off a feed from Kanemy, 43 seconds in, to make it 7-2, but the Lancers got it right back 18 seconds later. With an assist to Sofia Righetti, Stoupas scored her second of the game, at the 6:34 mark, and it was 8-3. CBU then cut the Aztecs' advantage to four goals, 8-4, with a score with 4:14 to go but SDSU answered. Chambers recorded her second tally of the game with 3:10 on the clock, was answered by a Lancer goal 23 seconds later and that score was followed by Bell's goal at the 2:37 mark to make it 10-5.  The Chambers and Bell goals were set up by Sydney Gish. California Baptist picked up the next two goals, with 2:23 and 1:22 remaining in the third, but Croteau scored the final goal of the period, give the assist to Valdes, with 49 second on the clock, to send the game to the final eight minutes with the Scarlet and Black up 11-7.
San Diego State tacked on five more goals to the Lancers' two in the fourth quarter. CBU trimmed the SDSU lead to three with its goal just 16 seconds in, but that was as close as they would get. Stoupas, from Kanemy and Houck respectively, struck for back-to-back goals, with 7:28 and 6:39 left, making it a 13-8 game. California Baptist's final score came with 5:57 to play and from there the Aztecs put the game away with the final three strikes of the game.  Kanemy, on a Valdes assist, scored her second goal with 5:25 left. Byers, the recipient of Gish's third assist, got her goal with 3:18 on the clock and Macedo wrapped things up with a tally with 2:36 to play.
California Baptist was led by four goals from Kyra Kahahawai and three from Celeste Almendariz. Tyanna Schneider was tagged with the loss, allowing all 16 goals, while stopping four shots.
The Aztecs will play on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the semifinal round against the winner of the 1-seed LMU vs. 8-seed Concordia matchup from this afternoon.
California Baptist: 2-0-5-2 - 9
San Diego State: 4-2-5-5 - 16
California Baptist Goals: Kahahawai (4), Almendariz (3), Bumbaca (1), Moreno (1)
San Diego State Goals: Stoupas (4), Bell (2), Chambers (2), Kanemy (2), Byers (1), Comiskey (1), Croteau (1), Houck (1), Macedo (1), Valdes (1)
California Baptist Saves: Schneider (4)
San Diego State Saves: Ratajczak (14)