Pacific Falls to China, Edge Michigan in Final Day at Stanford

Viktoria Tamas (photo by Wayne Tilcock)
Viktoria Tamas (photo by Wayne Tilcock)

PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Pacific women's water polo team wrapped up tournament play at the Stanford Invite on Sunday with it's second straight weekend split falling 14-4 to the China National Team and pulling off a 9-8 victory over No. 9 Michigan. Both Viktoria Szmodics and Viktoria Tamas carried the load offensively accounting for nine of Pacific's 13 total points in Sunday's matches. The Tigers move to 5-2 on the year while the Wolverines drop to 7-6. 

The Tigers fared off against China for the second time this season Sunday morning. Similar to their first match, the Orange and Black kept things tight in the opening period, but China utilized a 5-1 run to sustain a lead that was kept throughout the match. 

Truly Dorland scored Pacific's first point of the game with three minutes to go in the first making the score 3-1 in favor of China. China then went five straight unanswered points that carried them onward into the second half. 

In the third period, Viktoria Szmodics and Mariana Duarte each registered a goal to help trim down the Tigers' deficit to 9-3. Szmodics led the charge for Pacific offensively tallying a team-high five shots on goal in their contest, 18 in total for the weekend. Duarte, who led the team in scoring with 14 goals last weekend in Ann Arbor, MI, scored her first points of the tournament at the 2:36 mark after Szmodics drew an exclusion charge on China. The two attackers score's kept the Tigers in the hunt but they still were unable to fully shift the match in their favor after that point. 

The Orange and Black tied China with 25 shots for the match, but they struggled to capitalize on their opportunities shooting a low .160 from the field. 

In their second match of the day, Pacific turned things around in a back and forth battle against the Wolverines. Michigan opened up the contest with a goal but the Tigers quickly responded as Viktoria Tamas stole a pass which led to an eventual score with 6:37 to go off an assist from Karolina Hlavata. Pacific and Michigan would then fight for the lead only to have the score knotted up at 2-2 heading into the second period. 

During the second, the Tigers scored off a powerplay from Szmodics in the seventh minute as Duarte assisted her on the play to give their team a 3-2 edge. Two exclusions in the fourth and second minute, however, would cost the Orange and Black as the Wolverines scored two straight to put them up 4-3 going into the break. 

Pacific came out in the third with a surge offensively, going on a 3-0 run to open up the period conducted by both Karolina Hlavata and Viktoria Tamas. The Tigers' 6-4 advantage was then trimmed down as Michigan's Maddi Steere scored on the Wolverine's following possession to put her team down by only one. Each point scored by the Orange and Black was matched by their opponent as Pacific headed into the fourth with the score 7-6.

With the match still hanging in the balance, Viktoria Tomas opened with a goal in the 6th minute off an assist by Alexis Hollinrake. Tamas also finished with a game-high four steals to go along with her three goals for the afternoon. 

The Wolverines would keep things close however, as an offensive foul on Pacific led to a goal by Michigan's Julia Sellers in the fifth minute. Michigan proceeded this drive with another score of their own, tying the game up at 8-all with 3:12 to go.

Viktoria Szmodics followed this play with her biggest goal of the match placing the ball in the back of the net off an assist by Duarte with two minutes left. The Wolverines would try to assemble a go-ahead drive but fell short as Hollinrake made a pivotal save against a shot from Michigan's Kim Johnson to end the game. Hollinrake finished the match with nine saves and six steals.

The Tigers are 2-0 this season against Michigan. Their first match coming after a 10-7 victory over the Wolverines on Jan. 28th in Ann Arbor, MI. 

Next up for the Tigers is the Barbara Kalbus Invitational held at UC Irvine. The tournament will begin on Feb. 23rd and run through the 24th.