TEMPE, Ariz.-- The third time proved to be the charm for the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team, which beat Whittier for the first time in three chances this season with a 10-8 victory over the Poets before falling 10-9 in overtime to Cal State Bakersfield in the final match of the Arizona State Invitational on Saturday.
The Cougars, who lost a narrow 12-10 match in Whittier in the first meeting, and dropped a 10-9 overtime game to the Poets last weekend, used six second half goals, with three coming from sophomore Maryann Slama to help Azusa Pacific (11-14) secure its eighth split of the season. Alyssa Hess added two scores and dished out three assists, while senior Megan Minekime found the back of the net twice in the win.
The Poets scored the first goal of the match before a Taylor Whitney score with 5:09 left in the first quarter knotted the match at 1-1. Another Cougar score put Azusa Pacific ahead 2-1, but two quick goals from Whittier gave the Poets a 3-2 edge. Lora Donaldson, however, got the equalizer with 50 seconds left in the frame to make it a 3-3 contest at the first break.
In the second quarter the Poets outscored the Cougars 2-1 to lead 5-4 at the half, but in the second half the Cougars countered with a Minekime goal to tie it at 5-5. Whittier again went ahead with a Cynthia Castillo goal before another Minekime score made it a 6-6 game. The Poets and Cougars traded two more scores to make it a 7-7 contest with eight minutes remaining.
In the final quarter the Cougar defense clamped down, holding Whittier to one score while Hess, Alynn Reade and Slama each tabbed goals to give Azusa Pacific a 10-8 win. Katie Margot registered 10 saves and added four steals on the defensive end.
The Cougars earned just five 6-on-5 chances, scoring twice in those opportunities, while Whittier turned five of its 11 power plays into goals. Reade drew a team-high three ejections against the Poets, and Courtney Folsom nabbed three steals and an assist.
In the loss to the Roadrunners the Cougars were outscored 2-1 in the two overtime periods, which included a game-winning goal for Bakersfield with 1:35 on the clock. Whitney and Slama each recorded hat tricks in the match, while Hess added a pair of scores. Margot tallied 11 saves, including a 5-meter block.
The Cougars will return to action with their first home match of the season. Azusa Pacific will host St. Francis at 5 p.m. at Citrus College.