No. 14 Long Beach State women’s water polo team started the season off strong by winning all three of its games at the Beach Invite Saturday, Jan. 25.
The first of three games for the Beach (3-0) was against the University of La Verne (0-3). By the end of the first half the Beach held a comfortable 9-2 lead and continued to tack on more goals against the Leopards as game one concluded with a final score of 14-6.
“I think we opened up pretty well,” associate head coach Shana Welch said. “I think the girls are doing everything we have asked them to do, working together as a team.”
The second game of the day was against No. 20 San Diego State (1-1) and was much closer than the first tune-up match.
Long Beach began the third quarter with an 8-3 lead but the Aztecs ultimately tied the game at 9-9 with 1:25 remaining behind a furious 6-1 run. The Beach held on for the narrow victory after a penalty shot by Orsi Hertzka sealed the 10-9 win.
“They proved they could work together and come through,” Welch said. “I told them to play their game and control what they can and I think they did a good job doing that. They refocused and finished the game out well.”
Freshman defender Jamie Oberman and junior attacker Elena Kotanchyan scored key goals in the second half of a 12-6 win in a defensive grind versus No. 24 Azusa Pacific (1-3) to end the day a perfect three-for-three in the win column.
“I am extremely excited and happy about the performance,” volunteer assistant coach Robyn Gordin said. “We set out to win all three games today and we did that and the girls put the games away they had to do and we are proud of it.”
“It’s really a great start to the season,” Oberman said. “Us girls have been working so hard over the past weeks and to get three straight wins to start the season is really a great feeling.”
Long Beach State women’s water polo team will travel to Los Angeles to face Loyola Marymount Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. and San Jose State at 2 p.m. at the UCLA Mini.