Women’s water polo pulls out big win against Fresno Pacific

On a cloudy Saturday afternoon, the Seawolves played in an extremely closely contested game against the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds. The composure and precision of the Seawolves gave them the edge in the 14-13 home win.

Coming off of a close defeat to Cal State East Bay, the Seawolves came out strong in the opening quarter. With the game tied at one, Hailey Gellert and Annika Erickson both scored to put the team up 3-1 as the quarter concluded. 

Fresno Pacific would open the scoring in the second but the Seawolves responded 20 seconds later with a goal of their own. A steal from the Seawolves led to Taylor Brooks getting some time and space on the wing. She was able to lob a shot in from distance, tucking it perfectly over the goalie and under the crossbar. “I saw myself finding the back of the net and finishing the shot today. I knew I had to take my time and trust my ability to put the ball away,” said Brooks. 

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The teams continued to battle back and forth for control of the game. With the score at 5-3, Jojo Williams received a pass inside as the shot clock was expiring. She was able to fight off heavy pressure and rip the ball past the Sunbird goalie as the clock hit zero. Williams said, “I just knew that I needed to come through for my team so when I saw the shot clock running out I told myself that I was going to make that goal.”

The half would end with the Seawolves up 7-3. The team played well but no player was as dominate as goalie, Brooke Sullivan. Sullivan was able to come through with many timely saves which included two clutch stops against penalty shot attempts from Fresno Pacific. 

Momentum continued to sway in the second half. The Seawolves were able to hold their lead throughout the half but were heavily tested at the end of the fourth quarter. Up 13-9, Sonoma State would take a penalty allowing Fresno Pacific to score with less than three minutes left in the game. The Sunbirds would continue to pursue the comeback as they scored a total of three unanswered goals, shrinking Sonoma State’s lead to 13-12 with just over a minute remaining. 

The teams were tense, one was on the brink of a big comeback and the other fighting to maintain their lead. With 58 seconds remaining, Williams would lob a perfect cross-pool pass to a wide open Gellert who slammed home what would become the game-winning goal. The Sunbirds scored another quick goal but Sonoma State was able to lock down Fresno Pacific and close out the game with a 14-13 victory. 

“This was a huge win for us. We came out super strong and hit a few bumps in the middle of the game but we all stuck together as a team and finished the game really strong,” said Brooks. After losing the last two games, this was a huge victory for the Seawolves. With this win, the team was now 2-2 in conference play.

Sullivan continued her strong play in net throughout the game, notching 10 saves in the contest. Gellert, Williams and Erickson continued to lead the way on offense for the Seawolves. “Today was amazing. My team played so well, we were just clicking today. The intensity was there, the cohesiveness was there and the want to win was definitely there. I think we capitalized a lot today and we really showed our strengths,” said Williams. 

Sonoma State would have a quick turnaround, playing the next morning at home. The game resulted in a loss to UC San Diego by a score of 20-7. Their final regular season game is on Friday, April 13. The Seawolves will head on the road for what should be another close contest against Cal State East Bay.