STOCKTON, Calif.-- After posting an 11-7 win over Fresno Pacific in its Golden Coast Conference debut on Friday, the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team gave Pacific a scare in its GCC opener in a 12-8 loss before closing the weekend with an 11-3 victory over Redlands on Saturday.
The Cougars and Tigers were tied 5-5 at the half, but Pacific outscored Azusa Pacific 7-3 over the final two quarters to post its first-ever GCC win. Taylor Whitney and Maryann Slama each scored a pair of goals in the loss, while sophomore keeper Katie Margot registered 13 saves. In the win over Redlands Angelina Castaneda and Courtney Folsom each recorded hat tricks, helping the Cougars outscore the Bulldogs 6-1 in the second half.
Against Pacific the Cougars and Tigers traded goals in the first quarter, with Slama and Castaneda each finding the back of the net in the opening frame to make it a 2-2 contest after eight minutes. Pacific rattled off three straight goals to open the second, but the Cougars countered with three straight of their own. Whitney opened the spurt with a goal at the 3-minute mark, and Alynn Reade brought Azusa Pacific to within one on a score with 2:09 to play in the half. Then a backhanded goal from Whitney with a minute to play made it a 5-5 game
Pacific regained the lead with a score from Gracie Smith, and Talylor Adair’s goal with three minutes in the quarter gave the Tigers a 7-5 lead. Slama put the Cougars within one, but a backhanded score from Smith put Pacific ahead 8-6 headed into the fourth quarter.
Pacific scored three straight goals to open the fourth quarter to make it an 11-6 game, before Reade and Alyssa Hess cut the deficit to 11-8. But the Pacific lead was simply too big to overcome as the Cougars fell 12-8 in their second GCC match.
In Azusa Pacific’s win over Redlands the Cougars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after two goals from Castaneda and a score from Gonzales. Castaneda’s third goal of the match to open the second quarter gave the Cougars a 4-0 lead before back-to-back scores from Redlands cut Azusa Pacific’s lead to 4-2. Folsom’s first goal of the match made it a 5-2 game headed into the break.
A pair of third quarter goals from Folsom put Azusa Pacific up 7-3, and the Cougars outscored Redlands 4-0 in the final quarter, with Hess, Slama, Gonzales, and Megan Myers each finding the back of the net.
The Cougars (14-15) will return to action on Friday night at 5 p.m. with their second home match of the year when they host No. 17 ranked Santa Clara at Citrus College in their third GCC match of the season. The game will be streamed live on Azusa Pacific’s live video channel, and the pay-per-view feed can be accessed here.