Water Polo

No. 23 Water Polo Downed in GCC Semis

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.Claudia Valdes recorded her 23rd hat trick of the season, but a goal scoring spurt by the LMU late in the second quarter proved to be the difference as the San Diego State water polo team, ranked No. 23 and the 4-seed, fell to the 1-seed and No. 6-ranked Lions 18-12 in the semifinal round of the Golden Coast Conference Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Sullivan Aquatic Center.
Claudia Valdes, whose three goals gives her 74 on the season, the most since Anna Gonzales totaled 77 in 2008, paced the SDSU offense. Kendall Houck and Shannon Murphy added two goals each and Hannah Bell, Lucy Bullock, Rose Kanemy, Makena Macedo and Sofia Righetti chipped in a goal each. In the cage, Tiaare Ahovelo allowed 18 goals while making five stops.
Trailing 4-0, four minutes into the game, Hannah Bell fed Valdes with a cross-pool pass and the team's leading scorer made no mistake in putting the ball in the goal on a skip shot to make it 4-1 with 2:57 to play in the opening stanza. After back-to-back LMU goals pushed its advantage to 6-1, Macedo took a pass from Elena Pena and nailed a cross goal shot to draw the Scarlet and Black to 6-2 with 1:21 on the clock and that was the score as the teams went to the second period.
Murphy made it two straight Aztec scores when she skipped a shot inside the near post with 5:39 to play before the half, which got SDSU to a three-goal deficit, 6-3. Houck made it 6-4 at the 4:54 mark on her first goal and that was followed by a skip shot goal from Righetti straight away from eight meters to make it 6-5, which capped a four-goal run with 3:59 left on the clock. No sooner had SDSU gotten the game to a single goal, than the Lions got all four back before the end of the half and led 10-5 at the break.
Coming out of the intermission, LMU (27-2) scored to extend the Lions advantage to 11-5, but Houck got the goal back off a cross-pool pass from Kanemy at the 7:01 mark. The Lions scored the next two goals before Kanemy stopped the run. She took a pass from Righetti and beat the goalie with 4:32 left in the quarter for her second tally of the game, and then a great defensive effort by Macedo turned into a goal in transition for Bullock to make it 13-8 at the 2:06 mark. Then in the final 35 seconds of the half, the teams combined for three goals. Sammi Byers fed Bell who slammed a backhand shot in from two meters out. That goal was sandwiched between a pair of LMU goals, and the game went to the final eight minutes with SDSU trailing 15-9.
Valdes scored the first goal of the fourth quarter on a penalty shot to make it 15-10 and a Murphy scored on a skip shot, with 4:43 to play on a pass from Valdes to get San Diego State (16-15) to a 15-11, but the Lions then put three straight in the net to put the game away. Valdes scored the final goal of the contest, with 48 seconds to play, off a Sydney Gish assist for the final score of 18-12.
LMU's offense was led by a five-goal effort from Noa Sasover, while Inbar Geva played the first 16 minutes giving up five goals, making five saves and earned the win.
The Aztecs play Pacific, which lost to Fresno State earlier in the day in the other semifinal, on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the third-place game.
San Diego State: 2-3-4-3 - 12
Loyola Marymount: 6-4-4-4 - 18
San Diego State: Valdes (3), Houck (2), Murphy (2), Bell (1), Bullock (1), Kanemy (1), Macedo (1), Righetti (1)
Loyola Marymount: Sasover (5), Arino Ruiz (3), Gerber (2), Nankervis (2), Ben David (1), Kadifa (1), Lopez (1), Magano (1), Team (2)
San Diego State: Ahovelo (), Lagerlof ()
Loyola Marymount: Geva (5), Davis (4)