ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Sarah Lizotte scored five first-half goals as the seventh-seeded UC-San Diego defeated eighth-seeded Iona, 15-9, to take seventh place at the NCAA Championships at Canham Natatorium.
The Tritons’ seventh-place finish is their best in program history since the NCAA declared women’s water polo to be a championship sport in 2001. UC-San Diego finishes the year at 18-20, matching its win total of 2010.
Lizotte’s five scores are a season-high for the Tritons. She led UC-San Diego in scoring during the tournament, finishing with nine goals over the three days at the Championships. Kirsten Bates registered a hat trick against the Gaels on Sunday, her second of the tournament, and finished behind Lizotte with seven scores. Hanalei Crowell scored twice in Sunday’s seventh-place match, her second multiple-goal performance of the tournament.
The Gaels took a two-goal lead with 3:36 remaining in the opening period, but Lizotte responded with three goals in the next two minutes to tie the score at 3-3. Lizotte continued her scoring streak in the second period, matching Iona for a pair of goals to tie the game at 5-5 with 4:24 remaining in the half. After Amy Olson gave the Gaels another one-goal lead, finally someone other than Lizotte got on the scoreboard, as Jessica Tran made it 6-6 just before the halftime whistle.
Bates and Tran traded goals with the Gaels to open the second frame before Felicia Orozco gave the Tritons their first lead of the match, 9-8, with 2:08 remaining in the third. Crowell extended the lead to two on a 10-meter rocket from the right flank and then gave the Tritons an 11-8 lead with 6:23 remaining in the fourth period.
Bates added two more to give the Tritons a 13-8 lead. Kim McComas got into the scoring act, netting just her sixth goal of the season with 1:30 left in the contest. The Gaels added a final score before Natalie Peng capped off the match with a goal to make it 15-9.
UCSD was able to subdue the nation’s leading scorer, Maggie Wood, who came into the match averaging 4.4 goals a game. Wood scored just a single goal in the match.