The sixth-ranked University of Hawaii water polo team opened the season by splitting matches with No. 4 California and No. 22 Loyola Marymount in the Rainbow Invite on Saturday at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.
California’s Anna Illes and Emma Wright scored three goals each to lead the Golden Bears to a 9-4 win over UH.
Cal led 3-0 in the second quarter before UH closed the gap on goals by Claire Nixon and Maartje Keuning. But Wright scored with 1 second left in the period and the Bears pulled away in the third on goals by Carla Carrega and Dora Antal.
Keuning scored two goals for UH and Nixon and Femke Aan added one each. UH goalie Ymane Hage had eight saves and five steals.
“I’m happy with our start,” Rainbow Wahine coach Maureen Cole said after UH’s first season opener at home since 2000. “It was a good test. That’s great team and we had a lot of great opportunities.
“We could have been up 2-1 (in the first quarter), we were 0-for-4 on 6-on-5 opportunities. We had a lot of great opportunities that we didn’t finish. We put one or two of those away it could change the tone of the game the next quarter. We still came back in that second quarter and I think fatigue set in a little bit.”
UH returned to the pool against LMU and junior Irene Gonzalez and freshman Carmen Baringo scored three goals each to power the Rainbow Wahine to a 13-6 win. Nixon added two goals and eight UH players scored, including redshirt freshman Lalelei Mata’afa, who fired in her first career goal from near mid-pool late in the second period.
The Rainbow Wahine face No. 23 Marist Sunday at 10:15 a.m. to close the tournament.
— Wahine Water Polo (@WahineWP) January 21, 2018