Beach Water Polo Concludes Regular Season With Two Key Big West Matches
LBSU has its best start since joining the Big West Conference.
LONG BEACH, Calif. -
No. 13 Long Beach State will look to finish the regular season strong with two key Big West matches this week. The Beach will face No. 8 UC Irvine on the road on Thursday, Apr. 21, and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, Apr. 23 at home for senior day. The UCI match will start at 7 p.m. and the UCSB match will start at noon.
ABOUT THE ANTEATERS
The Beach will take on UCI (17-10, 2-2) on Thursday at the Anteater Aquatics Complex for the last 7 p.m. match of the season. The Anteaters are concluding their season against LBSU. UCI has won four of their last five matches, two of those wins coming off of Big West opponents Cal State Northridge and UCSB. The loss was to another conference member UC Davis.
UCI has 10 players with double-digit goals this season with three players having 20 or more goals. Sophomore Mary Brooks leads the team with 47 goals, junior Gabby Pierandozzi comes in second with 26 goals, and junior Destine Albers rounds out the trio with 21 goals.
With a win, the Anteaters will tie for third with Hawai’i, depending on how LBSU and UCSB close out the season. A loss will put UCI in fourth place with UCD.
FACING THE GAUCHOS
LBSU will battle with UCSB (15-11, 3-1) on Senior Day at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center that is scheduled for a noon start. The Gaucho’s also conclude their season against LBSU this weekend. UCSB is currently on a three-game winning streak and like LBSU, had huge wins over UC Davis, 7-6 in overtime, and Hawai’i, 7-5. After that win, the Gauchos are now the highest ranking Big West team in the CWPA Top 25 Poll. The Gauchos have also defeated CSUN, 6-4, but lost to UCI in their conference opener, 8-5.
UCSB has seven players with double-digit goals this season, and six of the seven have 27 goals or more. Redshirt senior Lauren Martin leads the pack with 43 goals. Martin recently earned Big West Player of the Week Honors after leading her team to wins against UCD and Hawai’i. Junior Taylor Shore has 41 goals and leads the team in steals with 43. Bryn Hudson is third on the team with 37 goals, Samantha Murphy has 31, Miranda Schrader has 29, Brenna Thomas has 27, and Sophie Trabucco has 14.
For the Gauchos, a win could move them into first depending on the LBSU vs. UCI match. A loss would put them tied with Hawai’i.
UCI leads the all-time record between the teams, 21-12. LBSU started off dominating the Anteaters, winning the first 11 meetings from 2001-’06. Since then, UCI has taken control, winning 21 of the next 22 meetings. The only win between that time came in 2011 in a tight 6-5 victory in overtime.
LBSU has the winning all-time record against the Gauchos, 21-18. The Beach lost both meetings to UCSB last season by just one goal. The two previous season, however, LBSU came out with wins in all four meetings.
Head coach Gavin Arroyo has led LBSU to its best start since joining the Big West Conference, and its third best start in program history. The Beach’s best start was in 2005 under head coach Ricardo Azevedo, who led his team to six straight wins to start the conference finishing with an 8-4 MPSF (Mountain Pacific Sports Federation) record. In 2003, the team went 3-0 to start the conference, also under Azevedo, to finish 8-2 in the MPSF.
In addition to this season’s excellent start, Arroyo has secured his second winning conference record in his time at the Beach. In 2013, his team went 4-3, losing the first two matches then coming back with four straight. In 2014, Arroyo and his team went even, 2-2.
BEACH FACTS TO KNOW
- After the big win over Hawai’i last week, the Beach is now in its highest ranking of the season in the CPWA Top 25 Poll at No. 13.
- With two wins the Beach will take the first seed in the Big West going into the tournament next week. A 5-0 conference record would be the best since joining the Big West, and the best in program history.
- A win and a loss would put them at 4-1, which could possibly tie LBSU with UCSB for the first seed. Two losses would put LBSU at 3-2 and tied with Hawai’i and UC Irvine as the second seed.
- LBSU now has nine players with double-digit goals nearing the end of the season. The underclassmen have taken on the offensive responsibilities for the team as sophomore Virginia Smith still stands on top with 41 goals to lead the team. Freshman Tori Morrissey has 34, sophomore Alexandra Massier has 33, freshman Annabel Harman has 28, and sophomore Emily Garczynski has 23.
- Sophomore Daniela Screnci and senior Jessica Brooks both have 17 each, senior Emily Matheson has 14, and freshman Karley Kraft moved into double-digits after scoring a goal against Hawai’i last week.
- Senior Alexis Butler has been huge for the Beach, anchoring the defense in important wins. After playing 522 minutes her senior year, Butler has racked up 126 total saves with 122 goals allowed. After last week’s performance against Hawai’i, the senior lowered her Goals Against Average from 7.20 to 7.07.
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