San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Aztec women’s water polo finishes its invitational strong

SDSU Water Polo goes 4-1 at their Aztec Invitational
Isabella Biunno
Sophomore Rose Kanemy defends a Westcliff opponent during the Aztec Invitational on March 12, 2023.

No. 22 San Diego State 20, Siena 4

The San Diego State women’s water polo team started its invitational strong against Sienna with a 20-4 win. 

The Aztecs were finally back home after spending 12 of their first 14 games on the road. Leading the Aztecs was graduate defender Samantha Loughlin who went five for five on shots throughout the game. 

Within the first six minutes, the Aztecs scored five goals thanks to first-year attacker Sydney Gish, senior center Danni Croteau, junior attacker Kendall Houck and Loughlin with two.

First-year goalkeeper Tiaare Ahovelo held the game steady for the Aztecs with eight saves and a steal. By the end of the game, the Aztecs had 11 girls score, as they were warming up for the rest of the weekend. 

Senior Danni Croteau evades a defender on March 4, 2023. (Fernando Martinez)

No. 22 San Diego State 10, Villanova 9

This was the second-ever meeting between the Aztecs and Wildcats. San Diego State had won the only other previous game, a 14-2 win at the Aquaplex during the 2019 campaign. 

Villanova entered the week with a 7-8 record overall, but lost at No. 24 CSU, 12-9. 

The game was won by what would eventually be a game-winning shot made by first-year Sophia Righetti. With 3:13 left, Righetti scored to give the Aztecs a 10-9 victory. 

First-year Attacker Claudia Valdes had a hat trick performance of her own, scoring three times to hit the back of the cage. 

“Claudia is having an amazing season,” head coach Dana Oschner said. “She’s a freshman, and she is our leading scorer if not tied for second leading scorer, so she’s just having such a good season. Her confidence and her willingness to shoot is something we really needed this year.” 

Villanova scored first as first-year Emily McKenzie got the Wildcats on the board, but the Aztecs answered back with goals from Loughlin and Croteau. This gave SDSU a 2-1 lead with less than five minutes to play in the first quarter. Villanova scored the last goal of the period by the end of the first and tied the game 2-2. 

Throughout the second period, the teams traded the first four goals, with graduate Amanda Legaspi scoring both for SDSU. Valdes made a pair of goals herself as well. First-year Klara Goldstein scored a goal, and a Villanova goal had the halftime score set at 7-5. The Aztecs looked to stay ahead of the Wildcats going into the second half. 

Valdes opened the third period with yet another goal to get her total to three scores, and make it 8-5 until the Wildcats came up with scores of their own to be within range at 8-7 in the final two minutes of the period. 

As the fourth quarter started, Villanova tied the game 8-8, but Goldstein put the Aztecs ahead with five minutes left to play. Villanova tied the game with 3:43 remaining, but a game winning shot by Righetti awarded the Aztecs the win. 

The Aztecs walked away with a win, and stopped a late push from Villanova. Coach Oschner noted the team rallying back to prevent the Wildcats from coming back and winning the game, as well as their defensive plan to keep momentum on their side. 

“We really locked in on our defense and made sure that we were executing our defensive plan not allowing key players on Villanova to be able to shoot the ball and then when we got those stops, being smart and taking our time and being patient on offense,” she said.

No. 20 San Diego State 12, St. Francis 10

Righetti led the Aztecs with four scores in a 12-10 Aztec win over St. Francis. 

In just the first period alone, the two teams combined for nine goals while not being able to build more than a two-score lead in what was a back and forth game. 

Loughlin set the match with an opening score in the first 15 seconds of the game, but St. Francis came in to tie and take a leading score to get it 2-1 with 5 minutes in the first. Goldstein then tied it all up 2-2.

Luckily in the second the Aztecs were able to double St. Francis with a score of 6-3, but then St. Francis tied the match. The goalkeepers were able to keep the game tight as Ahovelo had three saves, and first-year Mandy Lagerlof had nine saves and two steals.

In the final minutes Kanemy scored to help lead, and quickly came Righetti to score her fourth of the game and seal the win for the Aztecs. 

No. 22 San Diego State 8,  No. 13 Princeton 15

Overall,the Tigers and Aztecs have played 21 times with SDSU holding a 14-7 advantage in the all-time series. In games played at the Aquaplex, San Diego State is 7-5. After dropping seven in a row, the Scarlet and Black won a sudden victory 12-11 in the 2022 Aztec Mini Invite. 

Coming into this game, Princeton was riding an eight-game win streak, and hadn’t lost since January 29 to then No. 17 Wagner. 

Valdes was the highlight for the Aztecs in this game, scoring four times. Yet ultimately SDSU lost 15-8 to the Princeton Tigers. 

Princeton immediately jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first four minutes of the period, and the Tigers never looked back. Goldstein finally got the Aztecs on the board with a score, as well as Legaspi but by that time, the Tigers were already up 6-2. 

San Diego State’s defense looked like it couldn’t keep up with Princeton, as they ran up their score to 10-4 by the half. Legaspi and Valdes both scored for SDSU in the second quarter. 

“We can’t be intimidated by someone who is riding on that high and that we have to match your energy, which I think we did really well in that third quarter where had a 14 Quarter against them and that shows that we can absolutely can play against teams like that,” Coach Oshner noted when facing Princeton. 

The Aztecs gained momentum in the third after the Tigers scored two goals to open the period. Valdes went on to score on three straight scores, and first-year Ella Wiegand scored a goal of her own. This put San Diego State within scoring range with the score at 12-8 by the end of the third. 

Ochsner spoke on the “don’t give up mentality” of the team to lead the Aztecs to compete in the third quarter, led by Valdes and Legaspi. 

“That was a great quarter where those two really showed their leadership within their scoring opportunities and really tried to, you know, show the team that we can be in that game and we can win it and it takes more than two players to do it,” Ochsner said. “But I think as we continue on, to keep establishing the fact that they are phenomenal, well-rounded players who want to lead this team to victory.” 

Princeton pulled away towards the end scoring the final three scores of the game to win 15-8. 

No. 22 San Diego State 21, Westcliff 9

The San Diego State Aztecs defeated Westcliff University 21-9 in their final match of the Aztec Invitational.

The game started off strong for the Aztecs as they went up 4-0 to lead with goals from Loughlin, Kanemy and two goals from Legaspi. 

“It was awesome to see our whole team come together, more than half of our team scored,” Oschner said. 

The Aztecs had 12 girls score in this game, and both goalkeepers Ahovelo and Lagerlof had saves. 

In the last eight minutes Westcliff was able to reach within five goals, but once the Aztecs scored, they couldn’t stop. Within the last quarter the Aztecs scored seven goals in a row to finish the match with a 21-9 lead. 

“We had a quarter or two where we dipped but we came back together, and talked about what we needed to do and then they got in the water and did what they needed to do,” Oschner said.

The Aztecs play next against Hawaii at 9 p.m. this Saturday Mar. 18. Hawaii is a top five team, but SDSU is ready to win.

“We are preparing ourselves to not let who they are affect how we play and stick to our gameplan,” Oschner said.

About the Contributors
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '24-25 Sports Editor, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.
Madison Cadena
Madison Cadena, '24 -25 Editor-in-Chief, '23 -24 Broadcast Live Producer
Isabella Biunno
Isabella Biunno, '24-25 Managing Editor, '23-24 Photo Editor
Isabella Biunno (she/her/hers) is a photographer for The Daily Aztec. She is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada where she was a part of yearbook and publications for nearly six years. She is a first-year Psychology major with an emphasis in neuroscience, and she plans to go to graduate school for Occupational Therapy. She loves photography, editing, and creating, and she can’t wait to continue shooting content for the DA. One thing she is passionate about outside of photojournalism is being involved in the disability/Autism community. She is a part of SDSU’s Adapted Athletics club, and she worked as an Instructor at a company back home called Inclusion Fusion where she was able to work with people with disabilities. Although her career-related passions fall in the healthcare field, she enjoys taking pictures and covering photo events just as much. She looks forward to expanding her experience as a photographer as well as capturing some astounding shots this year.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Aztec women’s water polo finishes its invitational strong