SAN DIEGO – On Saturday afternoon, the No. 20 San Diego State water polo team honored eight seniors who were making their final appearances at the Aztec Aquaplex, but SDSU could not send them off with a victory, falling 13-8 to No. 12 UC San Diego in the 20th edition of the Harper Cup.
In a ceremony prior to the game, student assistant Grace Hallidaygoalies Raquel de Pinho and Zoe Morgandrivers Delaney Binette, Spencer Samuel and Carly Canalecenter Sydney Hurst and defender Lucia Carballo were recognized for their contributions to Aztec water polo.
Canale, who leads the Aztecs with 39 goals and 33 assists, got SDSU (12-15) on the board first with a laser shot at the 5:29 mark, but UCSD’s Ciara Franke and Lucia Doak responded with back-to-back strikes to give the Tritons a 2-1 lead after eight minutes.
UC San Diego tacked on two more goals to open the second quarter and extend its lead to 4-1, before Canale was able to staunch the bleeding with her second tally of the half, this one with 4:04 to play before the intermission which cut the UCSD (19-10) lead to 4-2. The teams then traded goals with the Tritons scoring at the 3:07 mark, Canale getting the hat trick with just 11 ticks left on the clock and Franke squeaking one in with a second to play to send the teams to the half with the Aztecs trailing 6-3.
Coming out of the break, UCSD scored twice to extend its lead to 8-3. Rose Kanemy scored with 5:51 to go in the third to trim the margin to four, but the Tritons got the goal back at the 3:39 mark.
The Aztecs came right back with a Katie Ratcliff goal at 3:16 and Jessica Leckich followed that strike with one of her own 26 second later to get to within three goals at 9-6, but UCSD scored three straight times to put the game out of reach.
They scored once before the end of the third period and opened the fourth with two more, the first coming from Franke, who finished with a game high four goals and was named the game’s MVP.
Sandwiched around the Triton’s last goal, Ratcliff found the back of the cage with 4:22 to play and Samuel scored with 14 seconds left to make the final tally 13-8.
Offensively, the Aztecs attempted 29 shots to UCSD’s 30, but on power plays the Tritons were 5-of-6 (.833) to SDSU’s 3-of-8 (.375).
In goal, de Pinho made 12 saves and had two steals in 24 minutes and surrendered 10 goals. Morgan, playing the fourth quarter, allowed three goals and made a steal in her eight minutes of action.
UC San Diego: 2-4-4-3 – 13
San Diego State: 1-2-3-2 – 8
UC San Diego Goals: Franke (4), Arroyo (2), Doak (2), Maine (2), Okumura (2), Couch (1)
San Diego State Goals: Canale (3), Ratcliff (2), Kanemy (1), Leckich (1), Samuel (1)
UC San Diego Saves: Bugelli (12)
San Diego State Saves: de Pinho (12)