Women's Water Polo Finish 3-1 At Michigan Invite

Photo by Wayne Tilcock
Photo by Wayne Tilcock

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Pacific women's water polo team closed out it's weekend of tournament play in Ann Arbor on Sunday, splitting a hard-fought victory over hosts No. 8 Michigan, 10-7, and a 10-4 loss to No. 4 UCLA. Following the Michigan Invite, the No. 9 Tigers move to 3-1 overall to start out the year, all three wins coming against ranked competition.

Maria Duarte took control of Pacific's match against the Wolverines scoring a season-high six goals in the first three periods of play. Kyra Christmas added two goals and three steals for the Orange and Black. Alexis Hollinrake went 7 for 11 behind the net, a .611 save percentage, to go along with two steals for the Tigers.

Duarte kicked things off for the Tigers scoring the first two goals in the contest to put Pacific up early in the first, 2-0. The sophomore from Sao Paolo, Brazil finishes the weekend with 14 goals off 33 shots.

Both teams battled it out in the second period as Michigan lost but regained the lead, 4-3, with 1:44 to go but a save from Hollinrake opened up a scoring opportunity for the Tigers as Duarte was able to score a goal with :24 left to knot up the match heading into halftime.

Despite some good responses from Michigan the Orange and Black made plays when it mattered most, responding on four separate occasions at which they either trailed or were tied up. One of the pivotal drives was at the 1:48 mark in the third where Duarte and Christmas scored two straight points to put them up 8-6 to close out the period.

Pacific stayed on the offensive in the fourth period bumping their lead up to three after a goal from Rachel Krieger at the 5:19 mark. Following a point from the Wolverines' Caroline Anderson, senior Aelish Guinn knocked in a go-ahead goal at 1:06 putting the game out of reach and securing Pacific's third tournament victory.

Despite getting more looks at the net and outshooting UCLA 31-18, the Orange and Black fell late to the Bruins Sunday afternoon handing them it's first loss of the season. Viktoria Szmodics led the way with two goals.

Pacific struggled to get things going offensively in it's first two quarters converting on only 2-13 shooting from the field. Christmas helped keep the game at a gridlock following her 1-1 score at the 5:32 mark in the first, but UCLA's Carlee Kapana made things difficult for the Tigers recording four of her ten saves in the first half and keeping the Bruins in a favorable position at 4-6 heading into break. Kapana finishing the match with a save percentage of .833 percent.

The Orange and Black shot 4-31 overall versus the Bruins on Sunday. Although the Tigers dealt with some shooting woes in their second contest, Pacific did force six total turnovers in the match, three of them coming in the fourth period.

Winning three out of their last four contests against ranked competition, the Tigers are in a good position progressing forward into the brink of preseason play. Pacific travels to Palo Alto, CA this Saturday, February 3rd, for the Stanford Invitational. The Orange and Black will face off against Long Beach State at 9:45 A.M. and No. 1 ranked Stanford at 4:30 P.M. Live stats will be provided via FOSH.