THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team closed out the Cal Lutheran Invitational with a split on Saturday, defeating Pomona Pitzer 8-6 in the first match of the day before falling 9-7 to Cal State East Bay in the finale.
The Cougars, whose 7-8 record is tied for the best 15-match start in program history (2011), got five goals from junior Taylor Whitney, and four scores from Maryann Slama on the day. Sophomore keeper Katie Margot tallied 25 saves in the two matches, while Lora Donaldson registered three steals against the Pioneers.
In the win over Pomona Pitzer Whitney found the back of the net four times, while Slama chipped in with a pair of goals. Megan Myers dished out two assists, and Megan Minekime drew three ejections. Margot tallied 14 saves, and helped Azusa Pacific limit Pomona Pitzer to just two goals in six 6-on-5 chances.
Azusa Pacific took a 3-2 lead into the first break, and after each team scored twice in the second quarter the Cougars held a 5-4 edge at the half. In the third quarter Azusa Pacific outscored the Sagehens three to two before a scoreless fourth quarter gave Azusa Pacific its seventh win of the year.
In the loss to Cal State East Bay Azusa Pacific took a 1-0 first quarter lead before the Pioneers tied it at 3-3 going into the half. In the third quarter the Pioneers tabbed four goals to take a 7-6 advantage into the fourth. Cal State East Bay then outscored the Cougars 2-1 in the final frame to clinch a 9-7 win.
Alynn Reade and Angelina Castaneda each scored in the loss, while Courtney Folsom and Slama each found the back of the net twice. Whitney also scored in the match, giving the junior 10 goals in the last two days.
Azusa Pacific, which has alternated wins and losses in the past 10 matches, will return to action next weekend at the Claremont Convergence. The Cougars will open against No. 12 ranked Long Beach State before taking on Whittier in a rematch of a Feb. 8 12-10 loss to the Fighting Poets. On Saturday Azusa Pacific will face Penn State Behrend and George Washington.