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Fresno State tops Concordia 14-7 at the Aquatics Center on April 6, 2018. (Fresno State Athletics)

Bulldogs win water polo match against Concordia

On a day where the seniors of the Fresno State water polo team were honored, it was a freshman leading the charge offensively in the Bulldogs’ 14-7 victory over Concordia University Irvine.

Callie Woodruff, utility, led the team with four goals in the ‘Dogs’ final home game, and she found them every which way. When her teammates found her on the break, she capitalized. Woodruff also found the top right corner of the net on her one penalty shot.

Junior Isabella Magno was not too far behind in the scoring department, with three goals of her own. Magno used her second to show off her range, firing a rocket into the top right corner.

Magno said the confidence her teammates have in her helps her have confidence in herself to take the shots she did.

“Seeing [Woodruff and Magno] shine is why they signed up to play here is why they signed up to play here, it’s because they wanted to be in that position to contribute to the team and help the team win, and they’re doing that,” said head coach Natalie Benson. “I’m proud so of them.”

The Bulldogs had plenty of opportunities at the net, outshooting their opponents by five points. The ‘Dogs were also more accurate with their attempts, making 43 percent of their attempts.

In total, eight Bulldog players found the net over the course of the game.

“We had a lot of girls score multiple goals, and had a really good team performance,” Woodruff said.

The Eagles only saw 25 percent of their shots go in, courtesy of a sturdy Bulldogs defense. The Eagles saw a number of their shots hit the post and eight of their shots denied by goalie Hannah Duggins.

They were quicker than the Eagles and had their way on the counter-attacks. But while the Bulldogs were efficient on offense, they struggled when having a power play advantage.

The Bulldogs were 3-for-9 on power play opportunities. Benson attributed their struggles to the Eagles’ unorthodox defense.

The ‘Dogs’ dominated for most of the game, but Benson remained dissatisfied with how the team came out of the halftime break. The ‘Dogs came into the third quarter with an 11-3 lead, but gave up two quick goals to start the second half.

“I told them we need to treat this like the game’s just starting, it’s tied, or we’re up by one, or we’re down by one. That was the one thing I was a little disappointed with,” Benson said.

The ‘Dogs struggled to find their rhythm the rest of the half, but were able to hold on to their lead and win the game.

After the game, Benson took some time to reflect on the support from the Fresno community during the team’s inaugural season.

“The community has been awesome,” Benson said. “Having the support of not only the Fresno community, but also our school community and having everybody here has been awesome.”