[ WATER POLO ]
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM|
Hawaii goalkeeper Amber Lumb went up to block a shot that bounced off the goal yesterday against San Diego State.
Wahine edge Aztecs
in final home match
By Cindy Luis
She heard her named being yelled during the entire match yesterday. But it wasn't coming from the several hundred fans watching Hawaii take on San Diego State in women's water polo at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Center.
The constant "Chelsea, over there. Chelsea, over here. Chelsea!" came from Wahine coach Michel Roy, a master tactician trying to get his junior utility in the right place at the right time.
About the time Roy lost his voice, Chelsea Garner-Prohs heard him the loudest. She took a perfect pass from Beth Novick with 76 seconds left and fired it past Aztec goalie Ashley Zabel to lift No. 8 Hawaii over No. 6 San Diego State 4-3.
The victory snapped the Wahine's three-match conference home losing streak and improved their records to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Hawaii will finish the year on the road with matches next week at Santa Clara, San Jose State and Stanford, followed by the MPSF Championships on April 25-27.
The Aztecs fell to 14-9 and 4-6 in their final MPSF regular-season match.
"This win feels good going into next week and the MPSFs," said Garner-Prohs after scoring her 14th goal of the season. "I think we'll be strong at the MPSFs. We've done some hard training and I think we'll be ready.
"Our defense is phenomenal right now. We've stepped it up a lot. We especially wanted to win this one for Karin since it was her last home game."
Karin van Hoff, Hawaii's lone senior, scored the match's first goal with 2:16 left in the first quarter to put the Wahine up 1-0. The score remained unchanged for the next eight-plus minutes before SDSU's Chelsy Smith tied it with 52 seconds left before halftime.
The Aztecs took the lead late in the third quarter when junior Holly Hartzell finally broke away from the Wahine's smothering defense for her team-leading 46th goal of the season. Hartzell scored four goals in last week's 6-3 win over UC Santa Barbara.
Hawaii countered quickly, tying it at 2 just 41 seconds later. Novick redirected a bullet pass from van Hoff into the goal.
Novick had a chance to put the Wahine ahead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, but her goal was disallowed. Novick had been fouled but didn't realize she had been awarded a free (direct) shot; instead she passed it out before getting the ball back and taking the shot.
SDSU capitalized two minutes later with Casey Finnegan's goal with 4:53 left, putting her team up 3-2. Novick made up for her earlier mistake with 2:51 remaining, finessing a shot past Zabel that the Aztec goalkeeper had a hand on but couldn't prevent from crossing into the goal.
The Aztecs had two more shots on goal, sandwiched by their coach, Carin Crawford, being ejected with 1:39 left in the game. Crawford bumped one of the officials when pleading that her team should have gotten a new 35-second shot clock following an attempt.
The ejection clearly disrupted a Hawaii fast break. But the Wahine needed just 13 seconds to regain the advantage -- and the lead -- when Garner-Prohs set up on the left side of the net and angled in her game-winner.
"When he yells at me, it helps me," said Garner-Prohs. "He's directing me where to go right before I need to be there. It was a beautiful pass from Beth. She had a good game."
Roy said he was pleased with the team play and defense.
"Everybody played well and the team defense was outstanding," said the first-year Wahine coach. "Without a doubt, defense was the key today. And they did a nice job on Hartzell. We knew we had to keep her in check.
"Still, we have things to work on, especially awareness. They need to play ahead of the game, not behind it, know what to do with the ball before they get it. Our defense has improved enormously, but this game is about offense. Our biggest problem is our passing. We have a great counter-attack, great opportunities to score, but the pass isn't where it needs to be."
Van Hoff was buried under leis before taking the traditional senior lap around the pool, floating in an inner tube.
"Overall the game wasn't as good as we should have done," said van Hoff. "When you score only four goals, that's not going to win you many games. But we did play solid defense, so that's good."