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 finishes season with 12-9 loss against UC San Diego in annual Harper Cup match

The Aztecs honored Kendall Houck and Danni Croteau on Senior Day
Ryan Olenyn
Center Danni Croteau attempts to make a pass against a UC San Diego defender at the Aztec Aquaplex. The Aztecs celebrated Croteau on Senior Day despite the 12-9 loss to the Tritons in the Harper Cup match on Sunday, April 21.

The San Diego State women’s water polo team hosted No. 11 UC San Diego on Sunday at the Aztec Aquaplex. 

The Aztecs (15-14, 4-3 Golden Coast Conference) fell short-handed against the Tritons (17-11, 4-3 Big West Conference) with the final score of 12-9. 

Every year the Aztecs and Tritons face each other for the annual Harper Cup. This year, the Tritons won against the Aztecs and will remain with the trophy. 

The Aztecs led the Tritons 44-20, and since the Harper Cup was established, SDSU took the lead 13-9. 

The Harper Cup started in 2002 in honor of Denny Harper, a former player for the Aztecs and former men’s and women’s water polo coach for the Tritons. Additionally, he established the women’s water polo program for SDSU. 

Head coach Dana Ochsner spoke on the importance of the city-rival game and how the team’s mentality was on point throughout the game. 

“It’s such a high emotional game, it’s something we talked about for many months in advance and I know the girls really care about it,” Ochsner said. “We wanted to get that cup back and I think we put a lot of weight on a game like this, you can tell from the mentality that we really wanted to win this game and that we weren’t gonna give up.”

From beginning to end, the Tritons took control of the game. The first goal was made by the Tritons 15 seconds in. The Aztecs responded 35 seconds later when attacker Shannon Murphy scored the Aztecs’ first point, tying the game 1-1.  

For the remainder of the first period, the Tritons scored three more times. The Aztecs were able to score one goal when attacker Claudia Valdes scored. By the end of the period, the Aztecs were down by two points, 4-2. 

Attacker Kendall Houck started the second period on a roll. She scored two goals back-to-back, helping the Aztecs tie the game against the Tritons 4-4. 

The Tritons did not hold back as they scored a goal right after Houck’s run. The Aztecs responded when center Danni Croteau scored a goal to tie the Tritons 5-5.

After Croteau’s goal, the Tritons took over. The Tritons scored four more times in the period, leaving the Aztecs falling behind by four goals, 9-5. 

The Aztecs started the third period strong with Valdes and Murphy scoring a goal. However, every time the Aztecs scored, the Tritons responded by scoring two goals in the period securing the lead, 11-7. 

In the fourth period, the Aztecs secured two goals made by Valdes and attacker Amanda Chambers while the Tritons scored one goal to secure the win, 12-9. 

“Our defense is really coming together,” Ochsner said. “At the end of the game, when I gave them an assignment to do, they really stuck to it and they came out hard and really pushed that boundary to take risks. Every person I put in there wanted to fight and wasn’t giving up and was doing the best of their ability.” 

Additionally, Ochsner discussed the challenges she saw her team face. 

“Turnovers were a big killer for us today,” Ochsner said. “It definitely reduced our ability to have shots on cage, it was a little bit lower of a shooting count than we’re used to which stunted a bit of our offense.”

The Aztecs honored two seniors, Houck and Croteau as they played their last home match.

“Kendall and Danni both bring incredibly different but huge strengths to the team,” Ochsner said. “Both of them bring a lot to this team in terms of setting a legacy of what is expected of an Aztec.”

Houck reflected on this year’s team. 

“This season has definitely been the best one that I’ve experienced out of my four years here,” Houck said. “I think the team as a whole has so much diversity and positivity. Every single person in each class brings so much to the team and I am so thankful to be a part of this year with every single one of my teammates. They definitely made my last year the most memorable.”

The Aztec season isn’t over. They will play against California Baptist on Friday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in Santa Clara. 

They will be playing in the first round of the Golden Coast Championship. 

“They have a lot of really good pieces on that team,” Ochsner said. “For a tournament like conference, it’s all about making sure we’re playing and taking each opponent as they come, but at the end of the day, we got to play our game.”

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.