The women’s water polo season began in the United States last weekend, with Michigan and Hawaii enjoying unbeaten starts to their respective campaigns.
The sixth-ranked Hawaii Wahine hosted San Jose, Loyola Marymount (LMU), and Marist at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Centre, defeating all three opponents.
Alba Bonamusa scored thirteen goals over the course of three games, while Lot Sterfeld scored eleven. Although Maureen Cole will be satisfied with two wins against top-25 teams, she is aware of the upcoming challenge posed by this weekend’s matchups against Michigan, the Cal Bears, and Fresno State in Fresno.
Speaking of successful opening weekends, Michigan also fared well with Cassie Churnside, in her first games on the Michigan bench, leading her side to victories in all four games during their 3,000 km trip to Arizona.
On Friday, Michigan shut out Biola (14-0), and on Saturday, they breezed past Cal Baptist and Azusa Pacific. In contrast, the Wolverines needed overtime to beat the Arizona Sun Devils, and Ashley O’Neill scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of regulation time.
Arizona themselves (aside from the Michigan clash) had no trouble in their other games, putting seventeen goals past both Cal Baptist and Azusa Pacific on Friday evening. As many had predicted, Juliette D’halluin wasted no time getting off to a strong start with her new squad, promptly scoring thirteen goals.
What to look out for this weekend
The first Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) conference game of the year will be played this Saturday when Indiana visits UCLA. Due to the lack of on-water practice for both teams so far this season, the final score could end up being closer than expected even though UCLA is the heavy favourite.
Both UCLA and Indiana will travel to Santa Barbara, where they will be tested by Wagner, San Diego, and the Gauchos themselves.
The Cal Bears will make their first appearance of the new season this weekend at a very enticing-looking invitational in Fresno, as mentioned above. They’ll be facing off against Fresno State, UC Irvine, Michigan, and Hawaii.
We are still eagerly awaiting the first glimpses of the defending NCAA champions, Stanford, and NCAA runners-up from last season, USC. The Cardinal will make its mark in two weeks time in Berkeley, while USC has a slightly more relaxed start to the new season at the Cal Baptist Invitational, which is also two weeks away.
Last Weekend’s Results (13th-15th January)
Friday, 13th January
Arizona State 17 – 5 Cal Baptist
Arizona State 17 – 6 Azusa Pacific
Biola 10 – 16 Cal Baptist
Saturday, 14th January
Hawaii 12 – 5 San Jose
San Jose 17 – 11 Marist
Arizona State 16 – 7 Biola
Michigan 16 – 5 Cal Baptist
Michigan 18 – 6 Azusa
Azusa Pacific 5 – 7 Cal Baptist
LMU 9 – 12 Marist
Hawaii 19 – 9 LMU
Sunday, 15th January
Michigan 11 – 10 Arizona State
San Jose 20 – LMU
Marist 7 – 22 Hawaii
This weekend’s top picks
Friday, 20th January
UCLA vs Indiana (MPSF)
Saturday, 21st January
Cal Bears vs UC Irvine
Indiana vs UC San Diego
Michigan vs Hawaii
UCLA vs San Diego State
Fresno State vs UC Irvine
Indiana vs UC Santa Barbara
UCLA vs Wagner
Cal Bears vs Hawaii
Sunday, 22nd January
Indiana vs CS Fullerton
UCLA vs UC San Diego
Fresno State vs Cal Bears
UC Santa Barbara vs UCLA
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