April 14, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - The No. 9 Long Beach State women's water polo team used a 4-1 run in the second half led by Justine Morgan to sink the 13th-ranked UC Santa Barbara Guachos, 9-5, Sunday afternoon at the Campus Pool. Melissa Matheson, Chelsea Parks, and Morgan led the 49ers with a pair of goals each while Kelly Ringel grabbed a game-high 13 saves.
The win pushes LBSU's overall record to 23-5, one shy of tying the program record for most-wins in a single season. With one match remaining in the regular season, The Beach has already won more conference matches this year (4) than it has in the past four seasons combined (3).
The last time Long Beach State defeated a conference opponent by four was back in 2007 against Cal State Northridge, 8-4, in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Both teams played cautiously in the first period taking up a majority of the shot clock on each possession. LBSU (23-5, 4-2 Big West) struck first with back-to-back goals from Coriann Snyder and Parks midway through the first but the Gauchos (19-12, 2-4 Big West) responded with a 2-0 run of their own to make it 2-2 after the first.
Christina Kotsia recorded her 12th penalty goal of the year at 5:13 to give the 49ers a 3-2 lead that it never relinquished. Julie Lantz's entry pass to Matheson in set extended the lead to 4-2 with 3:25 to play. UCSB netted two more goals to put the Gauchos within striking distance, 5-4, heading into the break.
Long Beach State took over in the second half holding UC Santa Barbara to just one goal. The 49ers tacked on two more goals before Jade Fitzgerald netted the Guachos' lone goal in the half with 1:25 remaining in the third period to make it 7-5 in favor of the home team.
It was a bit more physical in the final period with 7-of-15 exclusions called in the fourth. Morgan pushed the 49ers lead back up to three at 6:05 just as UCSB went back to even strength after Olofsson-Loo was majored from the match. Parks' goal with 1:03 left solidified the 9-5 victory over UC Santa Barbara.
With the win, Long Beach State has secured the fourth-seed for the Big West Tournament. A victory over the sixth-ranked Anteaters on Thursday however would make it a three-way tie between LBSU, SDSU, and UCI at 5-2.
The 49ers return to action Thursday, April 18, to host No. 6 UCI for their final game of the regular season. The Beach will also be honor Melissa Matheson, Julie Lantz, and Claire Martin prior to the match as they suit up in their final home game at Long Beach State. Ball is set to drop at 7 p.m.
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