In a game of runs, the California Baptist women’s water polo team staved off a Marist rally to hold on for an 8-6 win. The Lancers opened the game with six straight goals, but the Red Foxes responded with a four-score streak of their own in a game of two distinct halves.
Mallory Montano opened the match with a goal just one minute in. Petra Kovacs converted a 6-on-5 opportunity giving the Lancers a 2-0 lead and Christina Webb put CBU ahead 3-0 early on. Kovacs and Alyssa Birch rattled of second quarter goals, pushing the scoring run to five.
Camryn Rogers had four saves in the first half, shutting out the Red Foxes through the first two quarters. The Lancers went into the break with a 5-0 advantage and were relatively unchallenged by a Marist team that has been rated as high as No. 20 in the country.
Kovacs’ opened the second half with a score (her second straight hat trick; tenth in the last 12 games), seemingly putting the match out of reach at 6-0. Marist’s Head Coach Ashleigh Huckins then took her starters out to see if her backups could find a way to get into the game. And they did, scoring the team’s first goal 21 minutes into the match.
The Foxes kept it respectable with a goal at the 43-second mark in the third to cut the lead to four going into the final quarter.
The Lancer lead continued to evaporate, as Marist notched its third straight goal to give the Foxes their smallest deficit since the opening period. The team remained set on completing the comeback as Marist’s fourth straight score came on a fastbreak, giving CBU reason to sweat in a game that had been so distant for much of the first three quarters.
With a 6-4 lead Kylie Chevalier converted a 6-on-5 goal, but the Red Foxes responded on the next possession to keep the match within two at the four-minute mark.
Birch extended the lead the three, but the Foxes wouldn’t give up. Rosie Pauli scored her second goal with 1:19 to go, but it was too little too late for Marist as time ran out on the team’s impressive comeback. CBU held on for an 8-6 win after getting outscored 6-3 in the final two quarters.
Birch added three steals and two assists to her two goals, while Kovacs notched two steals and one assist. Five Lancers scored in the match as the team went 3-8 in 6-on-5 situations. Rogers had seven saves and held Marist to just two scores on 11 player-up tries.
The win was the Lancers’ sixth in seven games, and fifth at home this year. The team will play a double header vs. Maryland and Fresno Pacific on the second day of the Lancer Invite.