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 Santa Clara in conference play, 14-8

Claudia Valdes’s performance earned her a hat trick with her three goals
Sam Nichols
Attacker Claudia Valdes brings the ball out of the water to pass earlier this season at the Aztec Aquaplex. Valdes had a hat trick for the Aztecs in the 14-8 win over Santa Clara.

The San Diego State women’s water polo team hosted Santa Clara University on Saturday, April 13 at the Aztec Aquaplex. The Aztecs (14-13, 3-3 Golden Coast Conference) kept the lead the entire time, winning against the Broncos 14-8. 

 The Broncos (6-19, 1-5 GCC) scored 14 seconds into the game. The Scarlet and Black responded when attacker Kendall Houck scored the first goal with an assist from attacker Claudia Valdes, tying the game 1-1. 

The first period was a lot of back and forth with both teams scoring. In the opening period, the Broncos scored three more goals, while the Aztecs scored five. The Aztecs were up by two points, 6-4 by the end of the first period.

Valdes, attackers Shannon Murphy, Rose Kanemy, Sydney Gish, and utility Hannah Bell all scored. 

“We were scoring the goals we needed to, but there were a couple of little defensive errors here and there,” head coach Dana Ochsner said. “Maybe not being as tight as we should and the kind of defense that we’re trying to run. So that kind of gave them those extra opportunities. A couple of calls not going our way also gave them a lot of that momentum.”

Ochsner mentioned that her team responded well after the Broncos scored on them in the first period. 

“I think the girls did a really good job every time they were able to score a goal,” Ochsner said. “We were able to match that same kind of intensity.”

In the second period, the Broncos scored two goals while the Aztecs kept the lead, with three goals. The seventh goal scored for the Aztecs was made by Kanemy, following a goal by Valdes. The last goal of that period was scored by Gish, which helped the Aztecs maintain the lead by three on a 9-6 score. 

In the third period, both teams scored once, as center Mimi Stoupas scored a goal for the Aztecs, 10-7.

By the fourth quarter, the Aztecs secured the win by scoring four more goals, while the Broncos only scored one goal. Those who contributed offensively were Valdes, utility Makena Macedo, attackers Holliss Munchoff and Sammi Byers. The Aztecs ended with a 14-8 score against the Broncos. 

Valdes was the key player against the Broncos, earning a hat trick. Valdes scored three goals and earned an assist and a steal. 

“I’m really happy to be able to contribute to today’s win,” Valdes said. “I just keep working hard to try and help the team get better every day.”

Ochsner discussed Valdes stepping up in her leadership role and the fire that she brings to the game.

“One of her (Valdes) goals early in the third quarter that had some heat and some anger to it really fired up the rest of the team and showed them that we can’t let any outside factors sway us,” Ochsner said. “Not only is it an attitude and setting the standard, but also then being a great goal scorer, as well as someone who contributes to other stats, is huge.”  

With Valdes having the hot hand in the match, Ochsner spoke about different players having outstanding performances in the team’s contribution. 

“I think it’s really beneficial this late in the season for it to not just be one person,” Ochsner said. “We’ve had this continuous where one player is stepping up, but they’re not alone. I think that is just huge for us because at the end of the day, it’s six girls in the water plus the goalie, so as long as the six can contribute, we’re gonna find success.”

The Aztecs have a week to prepare for their next match where they will head to Riverside to play against California Baptist on Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. 

“It’s our last conference game so we have to do a lot of work and practice really hard,” Valdes said. “We just have to have the positive energy and intensity we’ve been having these couple of weeks and everything will be ready to go.”

About the Contributor
Abigail Segoviano
Abigail Segoviano, '24-25 Mundo Azteca Editor
Originally from Richmond, California, Abigail Segoviano is a second-year student, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Spanish. This is Abigail’s second year at the Daily Aztec where she got the opportunity to expand her writing skills as a journalist. As a staff writer last year she had the opportunity to mainly cover the entire season of women’s volleyball and also covered a couple of games for women’s basketball. This year her main focus is to branch out and write for different sports. Additionally to get involved in other sections such as Multimedia and Mundo Azteca. Abigail is the Vice President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (SDSU Chapter). Abigail received an award from The Daily Aztec: “Consistent Contributor.” In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching sports, listening to music, and going on adventures with friends.