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UC Irvine claims cecond straight Big West Championship

April 25, 2010

LONG BEACH - Cortney Collyer scored four goals and tournament Most Valuable Player Jessy Cardey added three, including the game-winner, to lead UC Irvine to a 12-11 win over Cal State Northridge and the championship of the Big West Women's Water Polo Tournament Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Anteaters (15-14) secured their second straight Big West Tournament championship in the process. UCI defeated UC Santa Barbara in the 2009 final. Cal State Northridge, which won a school record 28 games this season, finished 28-8 on the year in its first championship game appearance.

Erin Kiene contributed two goals and Morgan Vickers made six saves to help the UCI effort.

Whitney Delgado scored five times and Alison Pierce netted a pair of goals to pace the Cal State Northridge offense. Goalkeeper Jillian Stapf stopped 11 UCI shots.

The two teams were tied 8-8 midway through the third period when UCI made a late push. Collyer scored on back-to-back goals at 3:23 and 1:57 to give the 'Eaters a 10-8 cushion, and senior Kat Plummer scored her only goal of the game just 38 seconds into the fourth period to push the advantage to 11-8.

Delgado drew CSUN within 11-9 with her fifth goal at 5:29 on the clock, but Cardey notched what would prove to be the game-winner with a shot to the lower right corner. Her goal put UCI up 12-9.

Kristin McLaughlin scored with 1:18 to go to trim CSUN's deficit to two, 12-10, and Pierce found the back of the net with seven ticks on the clock for a 12-11 UCI lead.

Both teams put on a wicked offensive display in the first half, combining for 15 goals with UCI taking an 8-7 lead into the break. The Anteaters established their biggest leads at 5-2, 7-4 and 8-5, but each time the Matadors fought back. Delgado tossed in a shot from distance with 5.5 seconds left to pull CSUN within a goal.

Stapf made six saves in the third period to keep CSUN close, but the Matadors were outscored 2-1.

CSUN outscored UCI 3-2 in the fourth quarter to make a final push, but time ran out as UCI coaches and players dove into the pool to celebrate the championship.



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