Tigers Split Matches Versus Long Beach State and No. 1 Stanford

(Photo by Wayne Tilcock)
(Photo by Wayne Tilcock)

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The No. 8 women's water polo team split a pair of matches at the Stanford Invite in Palo Alto on Saturday. The Orange and Black downed Long Beach State by a score of 13-8 and fell to hosts Stanford by a final score of 16-4. This weekend series pins Pacific with an overall record of 4-2. Playing it's first official match, Long Beach falls to 0-1 on the season while Stanford retains it's No. 1 rank in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) with a record of 5-0. 

The Orange and Black came out aggressive against Long Beach State as Karolina Hlavata put her team up early on the board, 1-0, just two minutes into the first. Kyra Christmas swung the momentum in the Tigers' favor, drawing two exclusions on the 49ers and closing out the first period with two straight goals for an early 3-1 lead. The sophomore attacker scored a game-high four goals in the match, all four of them coming during the first half of play. The Calgary, Alberta native has clinched two or more goals in four out of her six performances for the Tigers this season. 

In the second, Long Beach knotted up the match in the seventh minute as an exclusion on Mariana Duarte led to a made penalty shot by Tori Morrissey over Alexis Hollinrake. This would be the tightest margin for the Tigers the rest of the game however, as the Orange and Black went on a 3-0 Christmas-led run and stretched the lead to 6-3 heading into halftime.  

The Tigers were tremendous on defense in the first half holding Long Beach State to 3 points and outshooting their opponent 17-9 from the field. Hollinrake kept the 49ers' offense at bay, recording four of her eight saves in the first two periods. The senior goalkeeper finished the day with 17 saves and four steals. 

A goal by Viktoria Szmodics gave Pacific it's largest lead of the game, 12-4, with just under :35 to go in the third. Szmodics had two goals and two assists for the match. The Orange and Black had an impressive time distributing the ball as they tallied in 10 assists for the match. Hollinrake and Viktoria Tomas led the way with three assists apiece. 

Against Stanford, Pacific struggled against a high-powered Cardinal offense. The Tigers shot 4-25 from the field and converted on 0-4 of their powerplays. 

In her second start of the season, Brooke Contreras scored her first career goal at the 6:47 mark keeping the match close with the Tigers trailing 2-1. The freshman utility has seven shots on the year. 

Following four pivotal saves by Hollinrake, Rachel Krieger scored off an assist by Viktoria Szmodics with just under a minute in the first to keep the game within reach, but Stanford's Kat Klass responded with a goal of her own giving the Cardinal a 4-2 advantage approaching the second.

This was the closest the Tigers would get for the match as Stanford assembled a 7-1 run to open and close out the second giving them an 11-3 cushion. Kennedy Watson punched in the Orange and Black's final goal with 1:25 left in the third, but the Cardinal would hold onto their lead after this point. 

Pacific had eight exclusions to Stanford's four, limiting their mobility on offense and giving their opponent more opportunities to score. The Cardinal shot .485 from the field, the second-highest percentage allowed by the Tigers this season. 

The Orange and Black wrap up the Cardinal Invitational tomorrow with an exhibition against the China National Team and match against Michigan scheduled for 8:30 AM and 2:00 PM. This will be the second time the Tigers face off against China and Michigan this season, their first matches coming on Jan. 20th in the Lou Tully Memorial Tournament and last weekend at the Wolverine Invite.