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No. 22 San Diego State water polo defeats Villanova, 14-2

Senior+goalkeeper+Maura+Cantoni+guards+the+goal+as+a+member+of+the+SDSU+alumni+team+attempts+to+score+during+the+alumni%27s+12-9+victory+at+the+Aztec+Aquaplex+on+Jan.+26.+
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No. 22 San Diego State water polo defeats Villanova, 14-2

Senior goalkeeper Maura Cantoni guards the goal as a member of the SDSU alumni team attempts to score during the alumni's 12-9 victory at the Aztec Aquaplex on Jan. 26.

Senior goalkeeper Maura Cantoni guards the goal as a member of the SDSU alumni team attempts to score during the alumni's 12-9 victory at the Aztec Aquaplex on Jan. 26.

Abraham Jewett

Senior goalkeeper Maura Cantoni guards the goal as a member of the SDSU alumni team attempts to score during the alumni's 12-9 victory at the Aztec Aquaplex on Jan. 26.

Abraham Jewett

Abraham Jewett

Senior goalkeeper Maura Cantoni guards the goal as a member of the SDSU alumni team attempts to score during the alumni's 12-9 victory at the Aztec Aquaplex on Jan. 26.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

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No. 22 San Diego State water polo defeated Villanova by a final score 14-2 on March 6 at the Aztec Aquaplex.

Head coach Carin Crawford said the Aztecs (5-7) played well during the game.

“It was a great shooting day for us,” Crawford said. “I thought my team was really patient; took the right shot at the right time and put the ball in.”

The Aztecs set season-highs in goals (14) and shooting percentage (.483). In addition, 11 Aztecs scored at least once.

“We had a lot of good looks at the goal,” Crawford said. “They dared us to put the ball away and have a great shooting day.”

Sophomore utility Emily Bennett fed off the good looks and had a team-high three goals.

“We definitely came out strong and we played that whole game correctly,” Bennett said. “We got steals and continued to do what was going good.”

Despite not having a set defense, the Aztecs produced 12 steals, three of them each coming by senior driver Hannah Carrillo and sophomore driver Karli Canale.

Offensively, Carrillo and Canale got involved as the sophomore scored twice and Carrillo added one.

Freshman driver Spencer Samuel added to SDSU’s scoring barrage by tallying her first collegiate goal with 2:12 left in the fourth period.

“We have been focusing a lot on our offense,” Samuel said. “Our offense is something we have focused on the past three weeks since we’ve been home. It’s paying off now.”

Despite playing at home for the first time in three weeks, the win was similar to the last home victory back on Feb. 14 against Toronto because of the steady mist and consistent wind.

Bennett, who went to nearby Valhalla High School, said she doesn’t like the rain, especially being a local San Diegan.

“I am getting used to this weather,” Bennett said. “I don’t like it.”

In between playing Toronto and Wednesday, the Aztecs faced four ranked opponents at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in Irvine, Calif., including No. 1 Southern California.

This helped the team get ready for the eight-game homestand and a total of 14 matches in March, including the Aztec Invitational, beginning this Friday.

“We always love to challenge ourselves against top opponents,” Crawford said. “It feels like even those games are challenging, and we don’t always prevail with a ‘W’; it’s the best preparation for a hard team to get ready for conference.”

The Scarlet and Black’s first Golden Coast Conference game is on March 8 against Azusa Pacific, the first game for the team during the Aztec Invitational.

Crawford said she favors playing a conference opponent first followed by non-conference teams.

“Conference games are really important for positioning ourselves as (the) best seed possible for the championship,” she said. “This is where it starts. It’s good because we’re focusing on (Azusa) first; the rest of the games are non-conference, so it’s allowed us to prepare for them.”

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