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Fresno State Women's Water Polo Season Ends in NCAA Quarterfinal
STEVEN HEADSHOT 1
By Steven Sanchez
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 13, 2024

The season came to an end for the Fresno State women's water polo team on Friday night after falling 14-7 to Cal in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship tournament. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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The season came to an end for the Fresno State women’s water polo team on Friday night after falling 14-7 to Cal in the NCAA Championships at the Spieker Aquatics Complex in Berkeley.

The team finished 2024 with a 21-8 overall record, earning the most wins in a season in program history.

UCLA won the title by knocking off Cal 7-4 on Sunday.

First Half of the Game

Fresno State trailed 2-0 before senior Abbey Simshauser got the first goal for the Bulldogs with 4 minutes, 32 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. The Bears would score two more in the period, and the Bulldogs failed to capitalize on their offensive attacks. The Bulldogs trailed 4-1 at the end of the first.

Simshauser opened up the second quarter with her second goal of the game, following the sprint win by redshirt senior Cynthia Rosa. The Bears responded on their next possession, extending its lead back to three. Cal would score again on a counterattack attempt to take a 6-2 lead. With 4:08 left in the quarter, junior Elisa Grim capitalized on a 6-on-5 opportunity on the assist from sophomore Hailey Andress to cut Cal’s lead in half.

The Bears took advantage of their next two 6-on-5 opportunities to extend its lead to 8-3 with 2:03 remaining before the half. Andress then scored on the rebound from a shot by Rosa to end the Bears’ run.

Cal led 9-4 at halftime.

Second Half of the Game

The Bears opened the third quarter with a goal but Andress was quick to respond. Both teams were held scoreless for three minutes until Cal converted on a penalty shot at the 4:26 mark to make it 11-5. Andress would score the next goal following a Cal turnover stolen away by Rosa. The third quarter ended with Fresno State trailing 11-6.

Cal again scored the first goal of the quarter, two minutes in before sophomore Ashley Williams responded at center on the 6-on-5 opportunity for the Bulldogs. The Bears would score two more unanswered to seal the victory.

You can watch a video replay of the game at this NCAA link.

Season Highlights and Recognitions

Despite the loss, the 2024 campaign was a successful year, especially in conference play for the Bulldogs.

For the fourth year in a row, Fresno State head coach Natalie Benson was named the Golden Coast Conference Coach of the Year. She has obtained 100 wins and boasts a 100-70 overall record. She coached them to a No. 6 national ranking heading into the NCAA tournament.

The team claimed its fourth straight GCC championship tournament title with a 13-12 overtime victory over the No. 1 seeded LMU, snapping Loyola Marymount’s 20-game win streak. Junior Brooke Ochoa was named the GCC Tournament Most Valuable Player for the second-consecutive year. Seniors Paula Nieto Jasny and Simshauser were named to the all-tournament team.

The Bulldogs earned six GCC all-conference recognitions with Andress, Jasny, and Simshauser selected to the first team. Ochoa was named to the second team while Rosa earned honorable mention honors. Caitlyn Mossman was named to the GCC All-Freshman team.

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Steven Sanchez,
Content Manager/Entertainment Editor
Steven Sanchez, a resident of Clovis, graduated from Buchanan High School in the class of 2007 and obtained his film degree from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Steven is a multifaceted artist, working as a filmmaker, writer, photographer, videographer, and published author. He has a profound passion for movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A dedicated football enthusiast, he cheers for the Las Vegas Raiders. In his leisure time, he indulges in reading and collecting vinyl records. Steven is often found attending rock shows in town, a keen enthusiast of live music. He holds a special fondness for his grandma's homemade meals and spending time with his twin sister.

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