No. 19 Aztec water polo secures first win of the season, goes 1-3 in nail biters at the Triton Invitational


Courtesy of Derrick Tuskan, SDSU Athletics

San Diego State water polo freshman utility player Laurene Padilla attempts a shot during the Aztecs’ 11-4 win over No. 18 Loyola Marymount on March 20, 2021 at the Aztec Aquaplex.

by Justin Cox, Staff Writer

After struggling in the Stanford Invitational last weekend, the No. 19 Aztec water polo team had a much stronger showing this weekend against tough competition in the Triton Invitational in La Jolla. 

The Aztecs’ first win of the season came on Saturday in the first game of the invite as SDSU defeated Santa Clara University 14-7, with six Aztecs scoring multiple goals including senior Delaney Binette (2), senior Sydney Hurst (2), senior Jessica Leckich (2), senior Samantha Loughlin (2), sophomore Laurene Padilla (2) and freshman Klara Goldstein (2). Meanwhile, sophomores Dayna Bond and Kendall Houck each added a goal. 

The balanced scoring is a promising sign for the Aztecs after Padilla scored five of the Aztecs’ ten goals last weekend. 

The Aztecs jumped out to an early lead as Binette scored the first two goals of the game, and the Aztecs never looked back as they cruised to their first victory of the season. 

Following the win against Santa Clara, the Aztecs dropped a hard-fought game against crosstown rival No. 12 UC San Diego 13-10 despite freshman Kari Canale’s three goals and Padilla’s two. 

The game was tied 6-6 late in the third quarter, but UCSD was able to tack on two goals to close the quarter and opened the fourth with two more to take a 10-6 lead. Despite two goals from junior Danni Croteau and Canale late in the fourth, the Tritons proved too tough for the Aztecs in the 13-10 loss. 

The Aztecs followed a strong showing on Saturday with two thrillers against No. 20 Loyola Marymount and CSU Northridge on Sunday, however, the Aztecs fell just short losing by one goal in each game. 

With just 30 seconds to play in an 11-11 game after Canale scored to make it a tie game, LMU found the back of the net to take a 12-11 victory despite Padilla and Hock’s five combined goals. 

Against CSUN, the Aztecs’ slow start came back to bite them as the Matadors scored the first four goals of the game to take a 4-0 lead into the second quarter. However, a strong Aztec comeback led by sophomore Faith Cerussi, who scored four goals in the contest, came up just short as the team never found an equalizer after Cersussi brought the Aztecs to within one with 56 seconds left in the fourth. 

The Aztecs will look to rebound at the Barbara Kalbus Invitational on Feb. 25 in Irvine.