BOX SCORE (PDF)
LOS ANGELES, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team was on the precipice of its biggest win of the season in the fifth pace match of the Golden Coast Conference tournament. But instead of closing the year with its record 17th win, the Cougars fell 9-8 to California Baptist Saturday afternoon.
Azusa Pacific (16-21) nearly overcame a three-goal second half deficit, scoring four goals over the course of the third and fourth quarters before CBU held off the Cougars in the fourth quarter to secure a fifth place finish in the inaugural GCC tournament.
Azusa Pacific trailed 7-4 in the third before Alyssa Hess and Megan Myers each tallied two scores to push the Lancers in the fourth quarter. But after the Cougars got to within a goal with under two minutes to play, California Baptist kept Azusa Pacific out of the net, sealing fifth place with Mallory Montano’s fourth quarter goal clinching the Lancers’ win.
Hess led all Cougar scorers with three goals in her final match with the team, while Myers posted a pair of scores. Alynn Reade, Taylor Whitney, and Megan Minekime each finished with one goal.
Minekime’s goal in the first frame put the Cougars ahead 1-0, before CBU knotted the match at 1-1 headed into the second quarter. In the second quarter California Baptist outscored Azusa Pacific 4-2, with the Cougars getting goals from Hess and Whitney, taking a 5-3 lead into the half.
CBU pushed its advantage to 7-4 in the third, before Azusa Pacific fought back to close the deficit. Hess’ second goal of the game made it a 7-5 contest, and her third goal, a 6-on-5 conversion, got the Cougars to within one entering the fourth.
In the final frame CBU grabbed an 8-6 lead, but Myers sliced the Lancers’ edged to 8-7 with 3:40 to play. The Lancers then moved two goals ahead of Azusa Pacific with 2:23 to play before Myers again got Azusa Pacific within striking distance with a goal at the 1:41 mark. The Lancers, however, snuffed Azusa Pacific’s upset bid over the course of the match, keeping the Cougars out of the net to seal the win.
Sophomore keeper Katie Margot posted nine saves in the loss, helping Azusa Pacific limit the Lancers to a 4-of-11 clip in 6-on-5 opportunities.
The Cougars close the regular season with the program’s single-season wins record, and have improved their win total in each of the last three seasons under head coach Julie Snodgrass.