The No.4 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine water polo team (18-7, 3-2 Big West) fell to the No. 17 Long Beach State Forty-Niners (16-9, 3-0 Big West) by a score of 8-5 in the final game of the season at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatics Complex this Saturday evening.
“We definitely got a lot of counterattack opportunities. We had quite a few bars that could’ve got in and it would’ve been a different game. Our execution at the end wasn’t there,” said head coach Maureen Cole.
Both teams went back and forth on the scoreboard, until the Forty-Niners pulled ahead in the second half to upset the ‘Bows.
The Wahine drew blood first with a goal from freshman Carla Abellan. However, their momentum was short-lived, as the Forty-Niners equalized with a score by Annabel Harman. Freshman Irene Gonzales then put the ‘Bows ahead 2-1, but LBSU came back shortly after with a score from Karley Kraft, tying the score up at 2-2.
The Forty-Niners had the edge in the second quarter with a score from Emily Garczynski to acquire their first lead in the game. However, Hawai’i freshman Julia Barton answered with a goal to even the game at 3-3. LBSU then fired back with a goal by Virginia Smith to pull ahead to 4-3 at the half.
Abellan tied the game at 4-4 after the half which tied the score up for the ‘Bows. Their momentum was then lost as the Forty-Niners scored consecutive goals to pull ahead in the third quarter. Two goals by Jessica Brooks and a score from Emily Matheson put LBSU at 7-4, entering the last quarter.
“We missed a lot of shots on the offense and that made the difference,” said Abellan, who led the Wahine offense with two goals. “Our team’s strength was our intensity and to never give up.”
In the fourth quarter, freshman Femke Aan fired back with a goal to shorten the lead to 7-5. The ‘Bows had multiple scoring opportunities, but failed to capitalize due to the Forty-Niner defense. The last goal then came from LBSU’s Tori Morrissey, which sealed Hawai’i’s fate in an 8-5 upset.
“We made a few individual mistakes and they took advantage of us messing up,” said Cole. “We made mistakes that led to 6 on 5’s and that didn’t need to happen.”
The Rainbow Wahine are now set to head out to Santa Barbara, California next to start their post-season for the 2016 Big West Tournament. First game is scheduled for Tuesday, April 29.