The No.12 Long Beach State women’s water polo team succumbed to the tight defense from No.4 Hawai’i, losing 15-7 Sunday at the Ken Lindgren Aquatics Center in a conference game.
Both teams were coming off tough conference losses on Friday. Long Beach fell 10-7 to No.9 Davis and Hawai’i lost to No.8 Irvine 7-6.
“I am definitely not surprised about how the Big West is. Irvine’s a great team, Long Beach is a great team,” Hawai’i head coach Maureen Cole said.
Against the Rainbow Wahine, Long Beach started off on the wrong foot, falling behind 3-0 and not registering its first goal of the game until the 2:53 mark of the first quarter. The 49ers added another goal before the quarter ended, making the score 3-2.
Long Beach kept within striking distance throughout the match, but each time Hawai’i led by one. Toward the end of the second quarter, with the Rainbow Wahine leading 6-4, they added a six-on-five goal with seven seconds left and led 7-4 at halftime.
The power play goal seemed to galvanize the Rainbow Wahine’s confidence, as they shut out Long Beach in the third quarter. The 49ers didn’t score in the second half until the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter, after a power play goal by senior defender Annabel Harman. Despite the efforts, Hawai’i’s defense stifled the 49ers, preventing them from getting many good looks.
A notable player for the Rainbow Wahine was Irene Gonzalez, who led the team with four goals.
“I think she’s someone who’s probably a little upset that some of the goals didn’t go [in] Friday night. She’s quick and she’s tough and that’s why she’s an All-American,” Cole said. “We were fortunate enough to get some counter goals I think that helps us break away a little bit.”
Maxine Schaap, Alba Bonamusa Boix and Elyse Lemay-Lavoie each had two goals for the Rainbow Wahine. Emma Van Rossum, Femke Aan, Ann Inoue, Carmen Baringo and Lalelei Mata’afa each scored once for Hawai’i, which got five second half saves from Molly DiLalla while Bridget Layburn made four first half saves.
Long Beach was led by freshman attack Orsi Hertzka and junior utility Maria Eleni Mimidi, who each had two goals while Harman, freshman attacker Camille Gallardo-Russell and freshman defender Gabriella Matafora-Adams had one goal apiece. Junior goalkeeper Eirini Patras made six saves for Long Beach.
Long Beach will have next week off, but returns April 18 for a home game against Irvine at 7 p.m. The game will also be a black and gold rivalry game and will take place during Long Beach’s senior night.
Hertzka believes her team can beat the Anteaters, who is in a tie for first place with Hawai’i and is a half game ahead of Santa Barbara.
“We need to keep going forward and really concentrate on our defense,” Hertzka said. “I think we need to be more confident on offense, but we still have time [to improve].”