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

Water polo dominates CSU Monterey Bay after loss to No. 12 Long Beach St.

A stellar team performance in home opener gained confidence and momentum for the No. 22 Aztecs before the Princeton Invitational
Isabella Biunno
Aiming for the net, utility player Makena Macedo (#14) scores a goal during a water polo match versus Cal State Monterey Bay on Feb. 10. The SDSU Aztecs won 18-3 against the Otters during their home opener this past Saturday.

The No. 22 San Diego State women’s water polo team hosted their home opener on Saturday, Feb. 10, with games against No. 12 Long Beach State and Cal State Monterey Bay.

SDSU and Long Beach State were the first to battle it out with the Aztecs losing 14-9, but the loss did not stop SDSU from dominating Monterey Bay 18-3. This is the second time SDSU has faced both teams with the Aztecs facing Long Beach State the weekend before.

“We did really well,” said attacker Amanda Chambers. “We had a huge improvement from last week and we are starting to come together, especially as we get to the bulk of our season.”

In both games, 13 Aztecs had their name on the scoreboard. Chambers was one of two players with three or more goals. Chambers earned her first career hat trick against Monterey Bay, and utility Klara Goldstein earned a season-high four points against Long Beach.

Goalkeeper Tiaare Ahovelo earned 10 saves in the match against Long Beach, and goalkeepers Mandy Lagerlof and Ava Ratajczak split the Monterey Bay game combining with a total of seven saves.

Although SDSU lost to the 49ers, the team was proud of how they were able to turn around after the first time they played Long Beach.

“We had a really good first three quarters,” Goldstein said. “We worked really hard, unfortunately, we lost it a little bit in that last quarter, but we improved significantly.”

The Aztecs went back and forth with Long Beach with the first quarter ending 4-4 after utility Elana Pena scored with no time left on the clock. Attacker Sydney Gish scored back-to-back goals in the first quarter.

Center Mimi Stoupas was the first Aztec to score in the second earning her second in the game. After Stoupas’ goal, Long Beach State answered with three straight goals. Attacker Kendall Houck ended the streak with a goal of her own, making it 8-6 49ers entering halftime.

The Aztecs hit the gas at the start of the second half. SDSU went on a streak that gave them their first lead of the game 9-8. Two of the goals scored were by Goldstein and the last by Attacker Claudia Valdes. However, Long Beach State took back the lead with two back-to-back goals late in the third ending the quarter 9-10.

The Aztecs ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as Long Beach State dominated the rest of the game. The 49ers did not allow the Aztecs to score and extended their lead ending the game 9-14.

Even with the tough loss, head coach Dana Ochsner gave her team recognition for being able to go on and dominate after the tough loss.

“We knew what we needed to accomplish,” Ochsner said. “They didn’t let up, and they didn’t let that first game get to them; they came in and executed what they needed to execute.”

San Diego State attacker Claudia Valdes looks to move the ball against No. 12 Long Beach State on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the Aztec Aquaplex. Valdes scored a goal in the 14-9 loss to the 49ers. (Natali Gonzalez)

The Aztecs established dominance early in the game with Houck winning the initial sprint followed by a goal from defender Sofia Righetti.

After a Monterey Bay goal; Goldstein, Stoupas, and utility Makena Macedo added their names to the scoreboard. The first half ended 7-1 with three more goals from the Aztecs.

The Aztecs did not allow a single goal in the second quarter and Monterey Bay did not see another goal until late in the third quarter.

The Aztecs ran up the scoreboard with five more points in the third quarter. Chambers scored her first goal after beating the goalie on a rebound from her initial shot.

Chambers earned two more goals in the fourth quarter, earning her hat-trick. Again, the Aztecs scored five more goals, only allowing Monterey Bay to score once in the fourth. Stoupas was the last Aztec to score, ending the game 18-3.

SDSU beat Monterey Bay in its first match of the Titan Invitationals 20-8, and Long Beach beat the Aztecs 9-16 during the Triton Invitationals last week.

The Aztecs made a few adjustments and recognized what was needed to give the No. 12 team a run for their money.

“We definitely recognized who we needed to cover,” Ochsner said. “That was a goal of ours as a team to not let their key shooters be a big part of their offense.”

In the first meeting with Long Beach State, SDSU allowed eight goals in the first quarter. Silencing their key shooters was not the only reason Ochsner believed her team made such improvements.

“Mentality wise going into the game with more confidence and being a bit more prepared is why we had a way different first quarter,” Ochsner said.

The Aztecs will begin the Princeton Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 17 with a match against Siena at 9:30 a.m. followed by a match against La Salle at 3:30 p.m. SDSU is looking forward to the invitational after their performance on Saturday.

“We haven’t been to the Princeton invite since my first year,” Ochsner said. “It’s just a great opportunity to see a totally different look of play.”

About the Contributors
David Rosas
David Rosas, Staff Writer
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.
Natali Gonzalez
Natali Gonzalez, '23-24 Arts & Culture Editor
Natali Gonzalez is an MA student in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. Originally from Ogden, Utah, she got her BA in English Teaching from Weber State University. While there, she worked as a research assistant examining the role of technology in K-12 education. She also worked for Upward Bound as an instructor and tutor. Now, at SDSU, she looks forward to learning about professional writing alongside increasing her knowledge about teaching practices. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys being outdoors, especially exploring the San Diego beaches and going on hikes, and doing yoga and meditation.