Aztecs defeat Fresno State in final home game of the season
Video courtesy goaztecs.com
April 8, 2018 (San Diego) - San Diego State’s senior class helped carry the 21st-ranked Aztecs to an 11-9 home win over Fresno State on Senior Day at Aztec Aquaplex. The victory bumped SDSU’s record to 12-13 and 4-1 in the Golden Coast Conference, while the loss dropped the Bulldogs to 5-15 (2-3 GCC).
The Aztecs struggled to find the back of the net in the early going despite getting some good looks, but their defense, however, continued its strong effort of late, led by Maura Cantoni, who made a number of sterling saves in the opening minutes.
Fresno State struck first on an Emily Nicholson backhand after Emily Bennett rattled a shot off FS goalkeeper Hannah Duggins and the right post with five minutes left in the first quarter. Senior Courtney Jarvis scored the equalizer with a strike into the upper left of the cage just over 75 seconds later, but the Bulldogs took a 2-1 lead into the second frame after Callie Woodruff scored on a set piece with a lob 34 seconds before the end of the period.
Bennett, a freshman, then took over the game with two goals in the first 2:07 of the quarter. The Oakdale native whipped a shot into the nearside on a power-play opportunity 79 seconds in, and then followed with a missile as the shot clock was expiring with 5:53 to go before halftime. Senior Lizzy Bilz extended the Aztecs’ lead to 4-2 when she took a Jarvis 6-on-5 pass and one-timed it past Duggins as the clock dipped under 5:00. Nicholson briefly halted SDSU’s momentum with another backhand, but senior Katrina King took a feed from Jarvis and scored in transition with 1:41 left to push San Diego State into halftime with a 5-3 advantage.
Fresno State cut its deficit to one not even a minute into the second half when Woodruff scored on a power-play chance, only to have junior Hannah Carrillo come through in the clutch, scoring with the shot clock expiring off a pass from Bennett. The Bulldogs once again got to within one, making it 6-5, when Natalie Espinoza came through with FS enjoying a player advantage. Then in the final 3:08, SDSU received a goal from senior Malia Magro, who would have enough on her shot that a field block would not deny her scoring on Senior Day, and sophomore Shelby Kraft, who skipped her shot past Duggins with four ticks remaining on the quarter clock.
When action resumed, Carrillo scored SDSU’s third unanswered goal 22 seconds into the fourth period. A look-away shot from Claire Schade fooled the Aztec defense to help Fresno State get to within 9-6, but San Diego State scored twice to increase its lead to five with 4:07 left in the game. Bennett stole the ball at the top of the attack zone, giving her a fastbreak opportunity, one that she cashed in with 5:25 to go, and then Jarvis scored her second of the day to make it an 11-6 game. The Bulldogs added three goals late to provide the final margin.
“We played a complete game today. It was great to be more prolific on the offensive end and our defense carried us as it always does. I thought we matched up well on their two main goal-scorers. It was a fantastic day for the seniors just to see them contribute in such a major way, all of them, to a great win against Fresno State. I look forward keeping this rivalry going. It’s great to get to play a team that’s also a rival in the Mountain West Conference in other sports. I’m really happy for our seniors and looking forward to finishing out the GCC regular season.” – SDSU head coach Carin Crawford
SDSU’s graduating class (Lizzy Bilz, Courtney Jarvis, Katrina King, Emily Lowell, Malia Magro, Paola Vizcarra) made its mark on the game as it was responsible for five of the team’s 11 goals (45.5 percent), four of seven assists (57.1 percent), six of 13 steals (46.2 percent) and two of three field blocks (66.7 percent).
Maura Cantoni made 10 saves, giving her back-to-back double-figure save efforts for the first time of her career after she stopped a career-high 14 shots on Thursday vs. No. 23 California Baptist. The junior exited the game with 2:01 left, giving way to the soon-to-be graduate Emily Lowell.
No. 21 San Diego State 11, Fresno State 9
Aztec Aquaplex; San Diego, Calif.
FS goals: Emily Nicholson 3, Natalie Espinoza 2, Callie Woodruff 2, Maddie Loggins 1, Claire Schade 1
SDSU goals: Emily Bennett 3, Hannah Carrillo 2, Courtney Jarvis 2, Lizzy Bilz 1, Katrina King 1, Shelby Kraft 1, Malia Magro 1
FS saves: Hannah Duggins 10
SDSU saves: Maura Cantoni 10, Emily Lowell 0