The No. 4 University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine water polo team (17-5, 2-0 BWC) beat the No. 9 UC Davis Aggies (14-10, 0-2 BWC) in a sudden death thriller Saturday evening by a final score of 10-9, courtesy of a game-winning goal by center Nikki-Marie Bell.
The match got out to a slow start, as the score was only 1-1 by the end of the first quarter.
UC Davis got rolling after back-to-back goals by Carla Tocchini and Allyson Hansen early in the second quarter to gain a 3-1 lead over Hawai‘i. Bell was able to counter for Hawai‘i though, after she cut the deficit to 3-2 with her first goal of the game.
She was quickly topped by Tocchini for UCD after that, who was able to push the Aggies’ lead to 4-2. The score then remained 4-2 going in to halftime.
Almost immediately after play resumed, UC Davis was on the board again courtesy of a goal by Greta Kohlmoos. This gave the Aggies a three run advantage, leading UH 5-2.
With four minutes left to go in the third quarter, it wasn’t looking good for Hawai‘i. Haley Cameron was looking sharp in goal for Davis and didn’t look like she was going to let anything else by her.
The moment things looked as if they were going to go further south for the ‘Bows, Bell scored for the Wahine again. In the last two minutes of the quarter, back-to-back goals were also put up by attacker Irene Gonzalez and utility Femke Aan, which tied the game at 5-5 heading into the final period of play.
The fourth quarter got started with Kohlmoose’s second goal of the game for the Aggies, which put them back on top 6-5. Bell responded again, however, with yet another goal to tie the score back up at seven a piece.
Hannah Harvey countered Bell’s offensive stride right after that, scoring again to put Davis back on top 7-6.
The biggest moment of the game came with three minutes left on the clock, when Hawai‘i goalie Ymane Hage stopped Davis from scoring on a 6-on-5 opportunity for the Aggies. Then, with 2:33 remaining, Gonzalez hit her second goal to tie the game at 7-7, pushing the Aggies into overtime.
The ‘Bows were firing on all cylinders in the early minutes of overtime, with three huge saves from Hage to keep the Aggies scoreless and two goals from Gonzalez to put Hawai‘i up 9-7.
The second half of overtime started with an early goal from Harvey, that was waived off by the refs due to it being after the play timer had expired. This didn’t seem to bother UC Davis at all, as Bryn Lutz scored for her team on their next two trips down the stretch to tie the game back up.
The score was 9-9 at the start of sudden death and UCD had the first possession. With three seconds left on the play clock, Tocchini hit the top of the goal post and was unable to capitalize for the Aggies.
On the ensuing Hawai‘i possession, Bell scored her fifth goal of the evening to give the ‘Bows a victory and final score of 10-9 over the Aggies.
The Wahine are set to play Cal State Northridge next on Saturday, April 9 in Northridge, California. Game time is set for 9:00 a.m. HST.