UCSD rallies to top No. 8 LMU
Crowell scores game-winner in final two minutes for first crown
HAYWARD, Calif. -- UC San Diego scored six fourth-quarter goals on its way to a 13-11 win against top-seed and eighth-ranked LMU in the Western Water Polo Association title game on Sunday afternoon.
The Tritons earned their first conference crown since the NCAA adopted it as a championship sport. The Tritons also guaranteed the WWPA's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships on May 13-15 with their first defeat of a ranked opponent this season.
Sarah Lizotte led all scorers with four goals while Hanalei Crowell and Jessica Tran each recorded a hat trick. Allie Taylor recorded seven saves in goal. Neither team led by more than a goal until the final quarter.
The Tritons spoiled the Lions' quest for a third consecutive championship. LMU won the title in 2009 and then went on to take down UCSD in the 2010 edition.
"Beating LMU to win this championship was really special," said UCSD head coach Brad Kreutzkamp. "They have been so dominant and had a 37-match conference winning streak coming in. It was very sweet to be able to break that run."
The Lions led 9-7 and 10-8 in the final stanza, but UCSD scored three unanswered to take an 11-10 lead.
"When we tied it at 10 with two and a half minutes to go, I noticed LMU's demeanor going backward and out team was getting more and more excited," Kreutzkamp said. "They really started to believe they could do it."
Kimberly Benedetti evened the score for LMU, but Crowell scored the game-winner with 1:59 to play and Katherine Biehle added another on their way to a two-goal victory.