Box Score (PDF)
GLENDORA, Calif.-- It may have been a loss, but the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team impressed in what would have been the biggest win in program history, falling 10-8 to No. 18 ranked Santa Clara in a Golden Coast Conference match on Friday. The Cougars led by as many as two twice, but the Broncos shutout the Cougars in the fourth quarter, and outscored Azusa Pacific 5-2 in the second half to register a victory in their GCC debut.
Azusa Pacific, which led 3-1 after the first quarter and took a 6-5 edge into the half, were knotted at 8-8 with the Broncos heading into the final frame. But the Cougars, playing without their leading scorer following an odd opening minute in the second half where So. Maryann Slama was rolled with an ejection and two quick penalties, held off nationally ranked Santa Clara until a 2-0 fourth for the Broncos put Azusa Pacific’s upset bid to sleep.
Sophomore keeper Katie Margot kept Azusa Pacific within reach all match, tallying seven saves, most of which came in impressive fashion. The keeper blocked a 5-meter penalty, and turned away multiple point blank shots from the Broncos.
Junior Angelina Castaneda had a first half hat trick, scoring twice in the opening quarter, and then again at the end of the half with one of the team’s five 6-on-5 goals of the day. Castaneda led all players with three goals in the loss, while freshman Megan Myers and Slama each added a pair of scores. Alynn Reade also found the back of the net in the match.
The Cougars jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, scoring three straight after Santa Clara nabbed the opening goal of the day. In the second quarter the Broncos (10-9, 1-0) got back to within a goal with its second 6-on-5 score of the day, but Azusa Pacific pushed its lead back to two with Slama’s first goal of the evening.
Two straight SCU scores tied the match at 4-4 before Myers beat the keeper on a power play to make it a 5-4 game. The Broncos got another equalizer before Castaneda’s goal with 26 seconds left on the clock in the half gave the Cougars a 6-5 edge after 16 minutes of play.
Santa Clara got a big break to open the third quarter, first when Slama was whistled for a penalty, and again when the sophomore failed to exit after being ejected, resulting in another penalty and excluding the reigning Golden Coast Conference Player of the Week from the rest of the match. But Margot blocked the first 5-meter penalty shot, and the Broncos botched the second.
The Broncos, however, tied the match for the fourth time of the day with a goal at the 6:20 mark. But the Cougars regained the lead on another Myers score. The teams continued to alternate goals with Laura Burtness tying the game at 7-7 before Reade gave the Cougars their final lead of the day with a goal with 4:02 to play. The Broncos then tied the match late in the third quarter, took the lead on a skip shot from Elisabeth Anderson, and got the final score with 4:26 to play to post the 10-8 win.
Azusa Pacific will continue GCC play next week with a road match against California Baptist on Friday. The Cougars will then close out the regular season schedule with three straight home matches before competing in the Golden Coast Conference championships from April 24-26.