April 18, 2009
Irvine, Ca. - The 13th-ranked Cal State Northridge women's water polo team recorded its biggest victory of the season on Saturday afternoon with a 7-5 decision over ninth-ranked UC Irvine at the Anteater Aquatics Complex.
It was the highest-ranked team the Matadors have beaten this year, and it also allowed Cal State Northridge a share of the Big West Conference regular season title with UC Davis and UC Irvine at 4-1.
The victory also avenged an 8-5 loss to UC Irvine in a non-league game earlier this year at the UC San Diego Invitational (2/8/09).
The hero of the day, offensively, for Cal State Northridge was junior Alison Pierce. After the Anteaters had taken a 1-0 lead 1:48 into the match, Pierce scored three unanswered goals to give Cal State Northridge a 3-1 lead with 5:19 remaining in the second period.
UCI fought back to tie the game at 4-4, and again at 5-5 with 4:08 left in the third period, but Cal State Northridge moved ahead with 3:11 left in the third period on a goal by Renee Gargiulo. A goal by Kirra Kylander in the fourth period and five fourth period saves by goalkeeper Jillian Stapf kept the Matadors ahead for the remainder of the game.
Stapf recorded 14 saves, and the Matador defense held UCI scoreless in the final period. The CSUN defense also held UCI's top scorer, Gianna Rossi, to no goals. Rossi had entered the game with 60 goals, second-best in the Big West Conference.
The win over the Anteaters was the fourth straight for Cal State Northridge and pushed their overall season record to 18-14, and 4-1 in the conference. UC Irvine fell to 20-9 overall and 4-1 in the Big West.
Cal State Northridge returns home for its final home games of the season on Sunday (4/19/09) against Sonoma State (10:00 a.m.) and Cal State San Bernardino (4:00 p.m.). Three seniors (Jessica Coy, Tara McGinley, Devin Sloan) will be honored before the game against Cal State San Bernardino.
Next week, the Matadors will compete in the Big West Conference Championship (April 24-26) at the Chris Kjeldsen Pool Complex at the University of Pacific. Because Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine and UC Davis all shared the conference regular season title, the top three seeds of the Big West Championship will be decided Sunday by a coin toss.
Jillian Stapf's 14 saves against UC Irvine gives her 347 for the season, only one short of her school record set two years ago ... Stapf now has a school record 970 career saves in only 2-plus seasons at Cal State Northridge ... Alison Pierce' three goals against UCI tied her season high ... Earlier this year against Pacific (3/28/09), Pierce also tallied a hat trick.
Cal State Northridge (18-14, 4-1 BWC) 1-3-2-1=7
UC Irvine (21-9, 4-1 BWC) 1-2-2-0=5
CSUN Scorers: Alison Pierce 3, Kirra Kylander 2, Renee Gargiulo 1, Sydney Sonoda 1
UCI Scorers: Erin Kiene 2, Kat Plummer 2, Ashling Taylor 1
Goalie Saves: Jillian Stapf (CSUN) 14; Lauren Davis (UCI) 3, Morgan Vickers (UCI) 6