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 year’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 women’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.