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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Water polo makes history with high-scoring weekend

Bulldog+attacker%2C+Kira+Anderson+looks+to+shoot+at+the+Aquatics+Center+on+Feb.+16.
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Bulldog attacker, Kira Anderson looks to shoot at the Aquatics Center on Feb. 16.

The Fresno State water polo team made history this weekend, scoring 50 goals in the two-game Bulldog Mini tournament to set a new program record. This is how it happened:

Fresno State 23, Fresno Pacific 3 (Feb. 16)

The No. 3 ranked water polo team defeated Fresno Pacific 23-3 to tie a school record for goals scored in a game. They last achieved the mark on Feb. 8, 2019, when they defeated Fresno Pacific 23-4. 

The first day’s scoring came fast and in bunches, with four goals in the first five minutes, including a score from attackers Hailey Andress and Abbey Simshauser. 

The scoring campaign continued into the second period, when the ‘Dogs took a 15-2 lead into halftime.

“It was nice to get out early. It allowed pretty much everyone to get a lot of playing time,” Simhauser said. 

Andress and Simhauser each scored four goals to pace the team, with 12 different players finding the back of the net.

Bulldog Head Coach Natalie Benson was quick to praise Simhauser, a senior transfer from Sydney, Australia, for her glowing leadership.

“She’s a fierce competitor. It’s not just in games, it’s in practice too. She’s been a great addition to our team. She gets on people for not doing their job, but it’s constructive and team first,” Benson said. “She’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met and she brings that energy every single day.” 

Despite the match’s lack of competitiveness, Benson was thrilled with the opportunity to ‘put on for the community’ with several local players representing both teams. 

“It’s fun to allow people to come and congregate here and celebrate water polo and their friends and family,” Benson said. 

Even with the large difference in score, the intensity remained high throughout the game. 

“You can really tell the passion this city has for water polo,” Simhauser said. “It’s nothing like I’ve experienced before.”

The ‘Dogs ended the game on top, 23-3.

Fresno State 27, Whittier College 3 (Feb. 17)

Fresno State dominated the Poets 27-3, setting a new school record that lasted one day for both goals scored and margin of victory.

Similar to the first game, Fresno State had 12 different players score, including Bulldog center Robyn Greenslade, who had five goals on five shots. Simhauser and defender Susanna Martinez had three goals apiece. 

Bulldog center, Caitlyn Mossman swims with ball at the Aquatics Center on Feb. 16. (Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian)

Six goals in the first five minutes set the tone. The Poets scored with 2:42 remaining in the first period, but the ‘Dogs responded by going on an 11-1 run to take a 17-1 lead into halftime. 

Bulldog goalkeepers Kelly Villanueva and Ida Tully-Giles split time in the cage between both games, combining for 16 saves while allowing just six goals. 

After facing 10 ranked opponents in its first 11 matches, the Bulldog Mini tournament served as a breather for the team. Benson mentioned that the tough preseason has kept them prepared for anything. 

“We’ve been scheduling difficult games every year since we’ve started and I think it’s starting to pay dividends throughout the season,” Benson said. 

The Bulldogs are now 10-3 overall and will head to Southern California On Feb. 23-25 for the Barbara Kalbus Invitational, hosted by the University of California, Irvine.

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