March 1, 2008
BERKELEY - The No. 3 California women's water polo team picked up a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation victory, defeating No. 11 Irvine, 5-3, Saturday afternoon at Spieker Aquatics Complex. It was a defensive showdown for the two squads, both of which recently upset teams - Cal knocked off then-No. 3 USC on Feb. 24 and Irvine beat No. 6 UC Davis on Friday. The Golden Bears improve to 10-4 overall and 3-1 in the MPSF while the Anteaters fall to 8-6 and 1-3 in the MPSF. Cal sophomore utility Darby Anderson led all scorers with three goals.
"They had a lot more momentum coming into this match that we did," California head coach Richard Corso said. "From my perspective, we played good defense. We played great defense at times. The concentration has to be at both ends of the court, and that didn't happen today."
Neither team capitalized on the three different man-advantage opportunities that opened the first period. The Bears were the first to score off a six-on-give with 3:09 to play when Anderson skipped a shot past Irvine goalie Lauren Machanis. Cal junior two-meter defender Melissa Wheeler scored on a fast break off thanks to an assist from sophomore utility Julie Oreglia to give the Bears a 2-0 lead after the first quarter.
The squads traded shots on goal for the first three minutes of the second stanza. With 4:20 to go, Irvine called a time out and to finalize its six-on-five plan and then senior two-meter Nicole Flacco scored. The Bears took advantage of another fast break when sophomore two-meter Grace Reynolds broke away and scored on a no-look shot with 1:45 to play before the half. Despite multiple attempts by both sides, neither team scored in the final minutes of the first half, and the Bears took a 3-1 lead into the break.
After a slight struggle, senior defender Molly Hayes won the sprint to open the third period. Anderson scored her second goal of the game in the first 30 seconds with a backhand shot after sophomore defender Erin Scully passed her the ball. It took six minutes for either team to get on the board following Anderson's score. Irvine's sophomore two-meter Kat Plummer scored from beyond the five-meter mark to bring the Anteaters within two, 4-2.
Irvine heated up the competition by opening the final quarter with a man-advantage goal from senior driver Jessica Lewis. Anderson gave the Bears some breathing room with a skip-shot goal with 2:43 remaining in regulation. Anderson's goal, which brought the score to 5-3, was the last of the game and Cal won the MPSF match.
Senior goalie Heather Stuart had another outstanding day between the posts for the Bears, grabbing 18 saves. Anteater keeper Lauren Machanis also performed well with 13 saves. Cal hosts No. 13 Long Beach State at Sunday at 12 p.m.
Score by period 1 2 3 4 F UC Irvine 0 1 1 1 3 California 2 1 1 1 5Irvine goals: Nicole Flacco 1, Jessica Lewis 1, Kat Plummer 1
California goals: Darby Anderson 3, Grace Reynolds 1, Melissa Wheeler 1
Irvine saves: Lauren Machanis 13
California saves: Heather Stuart 18