Regals’ Hands Full with Division I and II Opponents

Lexi Rond records a hat trick against Azusa Pacific.
Lexi Rond records a hat trick against Azusa Pacific.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – On day two of the Tina Finali Invitational, the Cal Lutheran women's water polo team had a tough task as they took on Division II Azusa Pacific and Division I Fresno State. The Regals fell to APU 9-6, despite senior Nikki Roed and freshman Lexi Rond recording hat tricks, and then FSU 17-5.

CLU ended the two-day invite on Saturday, going 1-3 on the weekend, and are now 5-4 on the season. The invite featured top competition with 12 games over Friday and Saturday.

Game One 
Cal Lutheran and Azusa Pacific exchanged goals early on and it started with Rond finding the back of the net. APU would answer and scored two goals before Roed tied the game at 2. The second quarter continued to see great defense on both sides as each team could only score twice. Roed and Rond both added their second goals as the score was tied at the half.

Azusa Pacific took control of the game in the third quarter. The Cougars were able to score three times and shut out the Regals. The goals gave APU the momentum heading into the fourth quarter. Rond and Roed kept their hot streaks going as they both scored a hat trick during the game. The duo made it a one-score game with 5:56 left, but the Regals couldn't complete the comeback as they fell 9-6.

Senior Mardell Ramirez kept the ball moving during the game and recorded a team-high two assists. Rond was a big factor in getting CLU power play opportunities as she recorded five drawn ejections. The Regals defense was stingy as eight different players tallied a steal, led by Roed and Ramirez with two each. Senior Bailey Meyer was in the cage for the whole game and made 11 steals and had two assists.

Game Two
The Regals had their work cut out for them in the second game of the day as they took on Division I opponent, No. 15 Fresno State. The Bulldogs jumped all over the Regals from the beginning and had a 5-1 lead after the first quarter. FSU wouldn't let up as they shut out the Regals in the second quarter and took a 11-1 lead. The Division I opponent was too much for CLU and won the game 17-5.

Rond led the team with two goals and two drawn ejections while freshman Kaitlin Gardhouse, Roed and freshman Susanna Zdolsek all added one goal. Junior Mackenzie Thomas showed off her complete game as she dished out two assists and had two steals. Meyer and freshman Kaitlin Moreno split time in goal and recorded two and four saves, respectively.

CLU gained great experience against tough competition as the Regals got ready for their first SCIAC game. Cal Lutheran's next game is at Caltech on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director