The fourth-seeded Anteaters slugged it out with Loyola Marymount in a defensive struggle Friday evening, coming away with an 8-6 win to send the Anteaters into the semifinals at the Aztec Aquaplex in San Diego. They will play the No. 1 seed, Stanford University, who beat Pomona-Pitzer 17-5 at 3;30 p.m. Saturday. For a full story on UCI’s game, see the UC Irvine Sports website.
UCI, the fourth seed, is 24-6 overall and won its fourth consecutive Big West Conference Tournament championship with a 10-5 win over host UC Davis in the final April 29.
Loyola Marymount, the No. 5 seed, is 20-9 on the season. The Anteaters and Lions split during the regular season, with UCI winning 12-9 in Los Angeles Feb. 18 and LMU prevailing 9-6 in Irvine Feb. 25.
The Anteaters finished fifth in last yearâ€™s NCAA Championship at Ann Arbor, Mich., losing to USC, 14-9, before defeating Iona, 15-4, and Indiana, 12-8.
Since the Big West started sponsoring womenâ€™s water polo in 2009, UC Irvine has dominated, winning four consecutive league tournament titles.
In 2011, UC Irvine captured the Big West regular season title with a perfect 5-0 record and advanced to the NCAA Championship for the first time. The Anteaters finished fifth nationally, and Jessy Cardey and Cortney Collyer were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.
Head coach Dan Klatt has been named Big West Coach of the Year for the last four seasons, while a UCI player has garnered Player of the Year distinction three times and Freshman of the Year three times.
Scoring leaders to watch this year include:
- Jessy Cardey, junior, two-time Big West Player of the Year, who leads UCI in scoring with 66 goals this season
- Hannah Croghan, sophomore, 47 goals
- Katie Croghan, senior 37 goals
- Danielle Warde, sophomore, 36 goals
- Kelsey Klatt, junior, 31.
Freshman goalkeeper Jillian Yocum has 164 saves in 16 starts while junior Kate Avetoom has 110 stops in 14 starts.