The No. 8 University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine water polo team (19-7) opened the Big West Tournament with a 10-6 victory over the No.10 UC Davis Aggies (17-12) Friday afternoon in Santa Barbara, California.
Freshman Irene Gonzalez put on a show and led the Wahine with five goals. Her performance tied a tournament record for goals scored in a game.
Junior Nikki-Marie Bell drove in four goals as well and freshman Carla Abellan contributed a goal as well.
Gonzalez drew first blood to put Hawai’i ahead, but the Aggies fired right back with a goal of their own to tie the game at 1-1.
UH opened up a 4-1 lead after Gonzalez earned her a hat trick.
UC Davis cut the Hawai‘i lead to 4-3 but the Wahine answered back with a goal from Bell. Gonzalez notched another goal, to put the ‘Bows up 6-4, but the Aggies came back again to tie the game at 6-6.
The ‘Bows offense erupted in the last quarter with four more goals to win by four.
With the win, the Wahine advance to the semi-finals against Long Beach State. The match begins on Saturday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. PT.