Women's Water Polo Drops Two In Day One Of LMU Invite

Sophomore Michele Relton - Photo by Mari Jo Prlain
Sophomore Michele Relton - Photo by Mari Jo Prlain

Los Angeles, Calif. – The Pacific women's water polo team dropped a pair of one-goal contests in its first day at the Loyola Marymount Invitational at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center. The Tigers fell, 9-8, to Colorado State in its first game before being edged by No. 20 CSU Bakersfield by the same score.

The pair of losses drops Pacific to 8-7 on the year. Colorado State and CSU Bakersfield improve to 3-13 and 13-9, respectively.

"Despite the setbacks, I am incredibly proud of the way the team played today," head coach Megan Thomson said. "We played with heart, intensity, and never gave up."

In their first game of the day, the Tigers saw Colorado State score the game-winning goal with 32 seconds left as Pacific fell, 9-8. 

Sophomore Malena Prlain led all scorers with a season-high four goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Michele Relton blocked 14 shots in a complete-game effort.

Colorado State jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before freshman Noelle Mann put Pacific on the scoreboard with an advantage goal at the 5:22 mark. The Rams answered with a power-play goal of their own before sophomore Rebecca Wright found the back of the cage, bringing the Tigers back to within one, 3-2, at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers tied the game early in the second quarter on Prlain's first score before senior Kim Kay gave Pacific its first lead, 4-3, on an advantage goal at the 4:38 mark. Prlain gave the Tigers a two-goal lead on her second power-play goal of the match with 2:14 left, but Colorado State finished the period with two goals to tie the match at 5-5 heading into intermission.

Prlain continued her stellar play in the third frame, spotting Pacific a two-goal advantage on back-to-back goals, the last of which came at the 5:54 mark on a 6-on-5 situation. The Rams pulled to within one, 7-6, 20 seconds later before knotting the match at 7-7 with 4:39 left in the quarter. Sophomore Elise Martin would score late in the period, giving the Tigers an 8-7 lead with eight minutes left to play.

The two squads tightened things up defensively in the final quarter as neither team was able to generate any offensive in the first six minutes. Colorado State finally broke through with a goal at the 1:18 mark, tying the match at 8-8. Pacific continued to come up empty before the Rams put away the go-ahead goal with 32 seconds left. The Tigers took a timeout with 30 seconds remaining but could not convert their final possession.

Colorado State was led by Amber Bryan's three goals. Goalkeeper Melissa Fisher tallied nine saves.

In its second game of the day, Pacific saw its opponent tally a late fourth-quarter goal to emerge victorious, 9-8. This time it was CSU Bakersfield who scored the game-winning goal with a little more than one minute left to play.

Martin led the Tigers with two goals. She was one of seven Pacific players to score. In four quarters of action, Relton notched 10 saves.

The Roadrunners opened the scoring before Pacific put away consecutive goals, the first from Martin and the second from Prlain, to take a 2-1 lead at the 6:21 mark. CSU Bakersfield answered with a pair of scores to close out the quarter with a 3-2 advantage.

Martin scored her second goal early in the second quarter, tying the match at 3-3. The Roadrunners would go back on top by one, 4-3, with 3:45 left to play in the half, but the Tigers scored the final three goals of the frame to take a 6-4 lead into the break. Freshman Brydie Pye started the run before freshman Kelsey Carter and senior Kim Kay added goals of their own.

Just as Pacific had dominated the second quarter, CSU Bakersfield took over the third period, scoring three straight goals to go up by one, 7-6, with 5:22 left in the quarter. Mann scored an advantage goal for the Tigers with 45 seconds remaining in the period, knotting the game at 7-7 with one quarter left to play.

CSU Bakersfield took back the lead with a score at the 3:02 mark of the final quarter. Freshman Taylor Adair would tie the game at 8-8 on a power-play goal at the 1:44 mark, but the Roadrunners had an answer, converting an advantage goal with just over one minute left and held on for the win.

CSUB's Sam Shead paced the Roadrunners with three goals.

The Tigers are back in action tomorrow in the second day of the LMU Invite. Pacific opens its day with a 10:30 am match versus Pomona-Pitzer followed by a 3:30 pm tilt against host Loyola Marymount.

"This team continues to get better each and every game," Thomson continued. "It is exciting to see the improvement as this young team starts to realize just what they are capable of. I look forward to the next two days for continued improvement as we prepare for our tough conference season."

Game One – Colorado State 9, Pacific 8
Colorado State 3 – 2 – 2 – 2 –– 9
Pacific 2 – 3 – 3 – 0 –– 8

Pacific – Prlain 4, Kay, Mann, Martin, Wright
Colorado State – Bryan 3, Berry 2, Schaefer 2, Young 2 

Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific – Relton 14
Colorado State – Fisher 9

Game Two – No. 20 CSU Bakersfield 9, Pacific 8
Pacific – 2 – 4 – 1 – 1 –– 8
CSU Bakersfield 3 – 1 – 3 – 2 –– 9

Pacific – Martin 2, Adair, Carter, Kay, Mann, Prlain, Pye
CSU Bakersfield – Shead 3, McKenzie 2, Nesbit 2, Hanson, Tsuruda

Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific – Relton 10