LOS ANGELES -- UC Irvine earned a spot in the fifth-place match weathering an offensive shootout against UC San Diego for the 17-11 win Saturday at Uytengsu Aquatics Center.
The Anteaters (25-8, 5-0) recovered from an early deficit with three consecutive goals in a two-minute period in the first period. Hannah Croghan punctuated the period by completing a hat trick in the final minute as UCI took a 4-2 lead into the second.The 'Eaters would pull away once against with three more quick strikes early in the second period, but the Tritons (27-12) reeled the game back in with a pair of goals in the final minutes as the gap remained two, 7-5, entering the half.
UCI stretched the lead back to four goals thanks to a pair from Michaela Pierandozzi in the third quarter, but a barrage from each team in the final minute saw a two-goal match, 11-9, going into the final quarter.
The Anteaters never looked back in their final run as three seniors peppered the net for goals in the first 90 seconds of the quarter ultimately ending the Tritons' hopes and finishing the 17-11 victory.
Croghan shone for the 'Eaters with five goals and four assists on the match. It's her second five-goal match to go with a six-goal effort in 2013, and scored on all five shots she took. She also matched her single-season high at 51. Triton Alexis Wieseler also posted five goals on the match and even added a pair of assists.
Pierandozzi finished with her fifth career four-goal match. Jessy Cardey added three goals and two assists. Hillary Estrada had a pair of goals and three assists. Danielle Warde had two goals, assists, and earned exclusions that all came in the second half.
Jillian Yocum and UCSD's Courtney Miller each finished with eight saves.
The win for UC Irvine is its 25th on the season tying a single-season team high that the 2012 Anteaters accomplished. The 'Eaters have now won an NCAA match in all three tournament appearances and have an overall record of 4-4.
The Anteaters will compete in its second NCAA fifth-place match at 4:45 p.m. ET Sunday, taking on Arizona State.