The Fresno State women’s water polo team took third place during the Golden Coast Conference (GCC) Championship, defeating San Diego State University 15-10 in the final day of the championship.
The Dogs finished the season with an overall record of 14-15 and ranked third place in the conference, making this the best season in the program’s two year history.
After a 4-3 conference record, the Bulldogs entered the championship seeded in the fourth place and facing Azusa Pacific University in the first game.
During the regular season, the Bulldogs and Azusa Pacific both had the same conference record, but Fresno State had the tie breaker due to them defeating Azusa Pacific 11-8 during the regular season.
The Bulldogs won the first game of the championship, defeating Azusa Pacific 8-6 and advancing to the semifinals against Pacific University.
Pacific was seeded as the No. 1 team in the championship and had defeated the No. 8 team Concordia University 17-2.
Fresno State fell short of its goal and was defeated by Pacific 11-7, sending the Bulldogs to fight for third place against the No. 2 seed San Diego State.
The Aztecs had defeated the ‘Dogs during the conference play 9-7 in a tough home match at the Fresno State aquatics center.
In the final day of the tournament, the Bulldogs faced the Aztecs in a very intense and competitive game.
The Bulldogs would take the lead early in the match, finishing the first quarter of the match on top of the Aztecs, 6-1.
For the second quarter, San Diego State University cut the Bulldogs’ lead down. However, the ‘Dogs still managed to keep the lead 8-5 to going into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Bulldogs kept stayed in front, thanks to great defensive plays and great goalkeeping. Fresno State held a 10-6 lead into the fourth and final quarter.
Fresno State held off the Aztecs’ attack and managed to complete some counter attacks that ended in points for the ‘Dogs. The Bulldogs finished the game with a score of 15-10, taking third place for the first time in the program’s history.
The Bulldogs goalkeeper Mackenzie Richards was named to the GCC All-Tournament team after finishing the tournament with 28 saves and recording 12 saves in the third place game against San Diego State.
Head coach Natalie Benson said that even though it was tough at the beginning of the season it was all to prepare for the playoffs, and it worked out in the end.
“This conference is good top-to-bottom. So for us to come out and play three very difficult games in a row and finish strong, that was our ultimate goal,” Benson said. “For us to win this game is very fantastic, especially being that [the program] is in its second year of existence.”