Aztecs sink in Golden Coast Conference Tournament


Abraham Jewett

Junior utility Shelby Kraft takes a shot during the Aztecs' 9-5 loss to UCSD in the Harper Cup on April 20 at the Aztec Aquaplex.

by Breven Honda, Staff Writer

San Diego State water polo was the No. 2 seed in the Golden Coast Conference Tournament on April 26-28 at Fresno State and finished in fourth place.

SDSU head coach Carin Crawford said the team wanted to have a better showing.

“It was not the tournament that we had wanted, and there was disappointment shared all around the team,” she said.  

SDSU vs. Fresno State – 3rd Place Game

The Aztecs, lost the third place game to No. 4 Fresno State, 15-10.

Sophomore Karli Canale scored four times, but the Aztecs, as a team, took 38 attempts throughout the entire game and only scored ten times.

SDSU gave up six goals in the first quarter, which put them in an early hole.

“We had a very challenging game versus Fresno, who were also looking to get revenge on us from beating them at their place,” Crawford said. “We battled back, but it was a similar situation. Giving up six goals in a quarter is not part of the winning formula, so we were all very disappointed.”

SDSU vs. Loyola Marymount – Semifinals

In the middle game of the tournament, the Aztecs lost their chance to claim another conference title and first since 2016 after losing 10-5 to No. 3 Loyola Marymount.

Junior utility Shelby Kraft scored twice and senior driver Mary Myers finished with two assists, but it was not enough for the Aztecs to move on to the championship game.

“LMU was back to full strength (since they last played SDSU), and we knew they wanted revenge for beating them at their place,” Crawford said. “It came down to one bad quarter where we gave up six goals and that was the story of the game.”

SDSU vs. Santa Clara – Quarterfinals

In the quarterfinal match, SDSU got off to a good start, winning 10-7.

Senior driver Hannah Carrillo and sophomore utility Emily Bennett scored three goals apiece as the Aztecs had their highest shooting percentage of the season (56%). Defensively, senior goalkeeper Maura Cantoni stopped the Broncos from scoring 16 times.  

“I was pretty certain both teams were going to score more than last time earlier in the season,” Crawford said. “We scored four goals within the first half of the (first) quarter, so it couldn’t have been a better start. Everyone played and we rested some starters (heading into the next game).”

The last time the Aztecs faced the Eagles was on March 28, when the final score was 4-1 in favor of SDSU.

A bright note to the weekend was Kraft making the All-Tournament team, after scoring six goals on 16 shots (38%), adding three assists and two steals throughout the tournament.

“She continued her hot shooting throughout all three games,” Crawford said.

The Aztecs finished the season with a 16-16 record.

Crawford said the team wanted to give Carrillo, Cantoni and Myers a win to end their collegiate careers.

“That’s the hardest thing; we wanted to send our seniors out with a win,” Crawford said. “It’s especially difficult to lose under those circumstances and not accomplish that.”

Looking back on the season, playing 20 ranked opponents was one of the highlights.

Crawford said it helped the team grow and increased their intensity as the season went on.

“We really pulled it together in that conference stretch when we won seven out of eight,” Crawford said. “That is directly correlated to how tough our schedule is leading up to those games.”

Heading into this offseason, Crawford said that the team will need to get better for next year.  

“We really do need to improve in the offseason,” Crawford said. “We have some good recruits coming in, but we’ll have a brand new goalie. There is going to be a lot of positions that are going to be filled. One of the things to keep in perspective, is that we were a pretty young team, but that includes starting one freshman and three sophomores. We have a lot of upside with the players that we know will be returning.”

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