WHITTIER, Calif.-- After opening the season with a brutal three-match stretch, the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team rattled off three straight wins, beating Redlands and La Verne on Saturday before falling to Whittier in the final match of a triple header in Whittier. Azusa Pacific opened the day with an 18-6 defeat of Redlands, and blew out La Verne 21-4 before Whittier erased a one-goal deficit at the half to record a 12-10 victory over the Cougars.
In total Azusa Pacific registered 10 hat tricks on the day, with a team-high five goals coming from Megan Minekime in the win over La Verne. Courtney Folsom, Megan Myers, and Allison Gonzales each tabbed two hat tricks as Azusa Pacific recorded its longest winning streak since 2012.
In the win over Redlands the Cougars sprinted out to an 8-1 lead in the first quarter, and took a 12-4 advantage into halftime. Azusa Pacific then surrendered only two goals in the final two frames to post an 18-6 win. Gonzales led the Cougars with four goals, while Myers and Folsom each tallied hat tricks. Taylor Whitney also found the back of the net twice. Maryann Slama registered a team-high five steals against the Bulldogs, and Katie Margot tallied five saves, and all but one of the goals she allowed was of the 6-on-5 variety.
Minekime led an onslaught of Cougar scorers in the win over La Verne, pacing Azusa Pacific with five goals. Folsom, Myers, Slama, and Alynn Reade all finished with hat tricks with Gonzales chipping in with two goals.
Against Whittier the Cougars and Poets went into the first break with a 3-3 tie, before Azusa Pacific outscored Whittier 3-2 in the second quarter to take a 6-5 lead into the half. Whittier, however, knotted the score at 8-8 after three quarters, and used a 4-2 fourth quarter to post a 12-10 win.
Slama and Minekime each recorded three steals against Whittier, with Minekime adding five drawn ejections. The Cougars, however, didn’t take advantage, scoring only one 6-on-5 goal in eight opportunities. The Poets went 5-for-8 in 6-on-5 opportunities.
Azusa Pacific will return to action next weekend at the Lancer Invitational where it’ll face three more SCIAC schools before taking on USC, the top-ranked team in the country.