April 18, 2013
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A 3-1 start by UC Irvine in the first period proved to be the difference maker as the 10th-ranked Long Beach State women's water polo team were edged by the Anteaters Thursday night in its season finale, 4-3. Kelly Ringel notched 11 saves to push her total season total to 240, good for fifth on the single-season saves list.
With the loss, the women's water polo finished the regular season 23-6, and 4-3 in conference play. The four wins in conference serves as the most wins in conference play for Long Beach State since joining the Big West in 2009.
UCI came out of the gate strong as the Anteaters (18-8, 6-1 Big West) scored on their first possession and followed up with another goal a minute later to go up 2-0 at 6:45. Matheson answered for LBSU launching one past UC Irvine's Jillian Yocum to trail 2-1 but Cambria Shockley snuck one past Ringel to take the 3-1 lead with :02 left on the clock.
Both team showed why they were the number one and two team defenses in the conference coming into tonight's match up as neither team found the back of the net.
Ringel came up huge for the 49ers midway through the second frame and denied three consecutive shots taken by the `Eaters.
Scoring was yet again at a premium until Matheson came through once again for Long Beach State pounding another goal past Yocum in set to put the 49ers within one at 2:03 to trail 3-2. With her second goal in the third, Matheson is now tied for ninth all-time in career goals at The Beach.
UCI's senior Hannah Croghan however took advantage of the Anteaters' power-play opportunity and found the back of the net seconds after LBSU regained full strength to extend their lead to 4-2.
Christina Kotsia kept the 49ers within striking distance with a goal on the 6-on-5 advantage at 5:52 to make it 4-3 in favor of the visitors. The Beach had several opportunities near the end but a steal by the Anteater's with less than 30 seconds remaining sealed any hopes of an LBSU upset as UCI held on for the 4-3 victory.
The Long Beach State women's water polo team will now prepare for the Big West Tournament next Fri-Sunday, April 26-28, hosted by UC Irvine. With the fourth-seed in the tournament, the 49ers will play the winner between Cal State Northridge and UC Santa Barbara tomorrow.
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