You know you’re doing something right when you score more goals in the first quarter of a game than your opponent does in the entirety of it. By that rule of thumb, the No. 4 Cal women’s water polo team (5-0), which beat No. 14 Long Beach State, 12-6, thanks to a huge first quarter that saw the Bears score seven goals, is more than on the right track to succeed in the 2017 season.
The Bears started their weekend with an emphatic win against the 49ers on Saturday morning at the California Speedo Cup I. The win was secured early on when Cal scored seven goals in the first quarter and limited Long Beach State to just two. After that initial quarter, the Bears appeared to coast through the rest of the game, scoring one goal in the second, three in the third and one more in the fourth.
Meanwhile, Cal’s defense, and particularly its goalkeeping, remained tight and effective throughout the whole contest. The 49ers were limited to one goal in the second and three in the fourth, while the Bears shut out Long Beach State in the third quarter entirely. The defensive showing was led by Cal goalkeepers Madeline Trabucco and and Madison Tagg who made four and three saves in the course of the match, respectively.
While the first game of the Speedo Cup appeared to be an easy win for the Bears, their second match of the day brought a larger challenge. Taking on No. 19 UC Davis on Saturday evening, Cal faced a much tougher opponent in the pool.
Unlike the Bears’ start in their game against the 49ers, Cal struggled in the first quarter, exiting it down 2-1 to the Aggies. Indeed, the entire first half was an uphill battle for the Bears as they struggled against a poignant UC Davis defense. The two teams finished the first half tied at 4-4, both clearly a little fatigued from games earlier in the day.
But Cal, coming out strong in the third quarter, was clearly eager to break the tie sooner rather than later. Scoring four quick unanswered goals in the beginning of the third, the Bears took an 8-4 lead with 2:53 remaining in the quarter. The offensive push was led by Emily Loughlin and Dora Antal, who netted two goals each. The lead would not last, however, as the Aggies came up with an offensive push of their own in the remained of the third, scoring three goals and closing the period down by just one, 8-7.
Cal’s performance in the fourth, though, was exactly what it needed to put UC Davis to rest. The Bears put up three goals in the final quarter to the Aggies’ two and finished the contest with an 11-9 victory. The win is in no small part thanks to another superb showing in goal from Trabucco and Tagg who made six and three saves, respectively, in the match.
The weekend was hugely victorious for the Bears, who remain unbeaten so far this season. Antal was the big offensive player for Cal on Saturday, scoring six total goals in the two games. Her performance was aided by Loughlin and Anna Illes, who both netted four goals during the weekend.
Sophie Goethals is the assistant sports editor. Contact her at [email protected]