The Rainbow Wahine water polo team scored three goals with five minutes left to beat No. 6 Long Beach State 7-5 in Friday’s first round of the Big West Championship at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.
Hawaii (16-8) plays No. 2 Cal State Northridge (14-10) in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal. CSUN beat Hawaii 7-6 on a buzzer beater on March 6.
“The crowd tonight was amazing, that was the best crowed we’ve seen all year,” Hawaii coach Maureen Cole said. “That really helped us in the fourth quarter, looking up and knowing we have all that support and it means a lot. We’re on our home turf, we want to defend it as best as we can.”
Hawaii’s Danika Kotylak scored with 5:02 remaining in the fourth period to tie the match at 5. Caity Lopes da Silva’s goal off Kotylak’s assist put Hawaii ahead 6-5 with 2:26 left. Paula Chillida Esforzado nailed a penalty shot for a 7-5 lead with 2:04 left. Chillida Esforzado led Hawaii with two goals.