BERKELEY- The No. 5 California women's water polo team lost its first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation game to No. 4 Hawaii, 7-6, on Thursday evening at Spieker Aquatics Complex. The Golden Bears now sit at 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the MPSF, which ties the second best overall start in program history - the 1999 and 1998 squads began their seasons 4-1 - while the Rainbow Wahine improve to 2-0 overall and in the MPSF.
"I thought we played great defense at times and at the beginning of the match," California head coach Richard Corso said. "We also played great five-man defense, too. With the number of opportunities that they were given, I thought we played good five-man. We made an adjustment at halftime, and the Bears did a good job with that."
Defense dominated the majority of the first quarter. Neither was successful offensively until five minutes into the game when Hawaii freshman defender Carmen Eggens's skip shot went in. Cal returned the favor 26 seconds later thanks to a goal from sophomore utility Stephanie Schnugg. With :27 left in the period, Rainbow Wahine junior two-meter Lisa van Raalte went one-on-one with Cal senior goalie Heather Stuart and scored, bringing the score to 2-1.
Cal's sophomore utility Camille Hewko drew an important five-meter penalty shot with :13 to go in the goal. Sophomore defender Meghan Corso capitalized on the opportunity and put it into the corner to send the teams into the second period knotted, 2-2.
Grace Reynolds, the leading scoring for the Golden Bears thus far this season, juked Hawaii's goalie Serena Bredin to give the Bears a 3-2 lead at the five minute mark of the second stanza. Defense was the name of the game for the next three minutes until 2:28 when Rainbow Wahine junior defender Angela Turnball's seven-meter shot got past Stuart to tie the score, 3-3. Thirty seconds later, a powerful shot from Corso ricocheted off the crossbar and into the back of the net to return a one-goal lead to the Bears. With :45 to play, Turnball put a goal into the right cover to send the teams into the half locked at 4-4.
Stuart stopped two consecutive shots to begin the third period before Hawaii junior utility Kelly Mason poked one through to five the Wahine a 5-4 lead. Senior defender Molly Hayes scored the final goal of the quarter with a skip shot with 4:51 to play.
The final period began with back-to-back five-meter penalty shots. Hewko earned her second of the game :54 seconds end and Corso hit the top of the net to give Cal a 6-5 advantage. Less than 20 seconds later, van Raalte drew the penalty shot for the Rainbow Wahine and Mason scored with a skip shot to tie the score, 6-6. With just under six minutes to play in the heated match, Eggens scored the ultimate game-winner with a shot on goal that just got past Stuart, to give Hawaii a 7-6 edge. Solid defense and missed opportunities by both teams prevented any further attempts on goal and the Wahine came away with the win.
Between the posts, senior goalie Heather Stuart had 12 saves for the Golden Bears while Hawaii freshman goalie Serena Bredin had 10.
The Golden Bears travel to the competitive Stanford Invitational this weekend and have a re-match with the Warriors on Sunday, depending on Hawaii's side of the tournament. Cal will face No. 3 USC on Saturday at 9:40 a.m. and No. 11 Arizona State at 3:30 p.m. The Bears will play host No. 3 Stanford on Sunday at 8 a.m. and either No. 1 UCLA, No. 4 Hawaii, No. 7 San Jose State or No. 14 Michigan later in the afternoon. For more information, go to http://gostanford.cstv.com/sports/w-wpolo/08-stanford-invitational.html.
Score by period 1 2 3 4 F Hawaii 2 2 1 2 7 California 2 2 1 1 6
Hawaii saves: Serena Bredin 10
California saves: Heather Stuart 12