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Rainbow Wahine win Big West water polo title

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Hawaii senior Caity Lopes Da Silva’s goal with 10 seconds left in overtime gave the Rainbow Wahine a 9-8 win over UC Irvine in the championship game of the Big West Women’s Water Polo tournament on Sunday at Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.

Lopes Da Silva, the tournament MVP, also scored with 38 seconds left in regulation to tie the match at 7-7 and force overtime. Her third goal of the match gave UH its second Big West championship in the last three years and a berth in the NCAA tournament. UH’s last win over UCI came in the 2013 Big West final, also in overtime.

UH sophomore Sarah Logan came up with four saves in the first quarter and Gabi Mantellato Dias scored twice in the period. Dias gave UH the lead with a skip shot at the 5:37 mark and took a backhand shot from close range off an assist from Emily Carr to score again at 1:37.

Lopes Da Silva’s shot from outside gave UH a  3-0 lead at 2:06 of the second quarter.

UCI’s Natalie Seidemann finally got a shot past Logan with 1:40 left in the second quarter. But UH’s Chloe Barr answered 43 seconds later and the Wahine took a 4-1 lead into halftime.

Emily Carlson and Hannah Lancaster scored power-play goals for UCI and Danielle Warde broke away for a one-on-one look against Logan and scored the tying goal with 3:27 left in the third quarter.

Claire Nixon scored on the power play for UH with 11 seconds left but UCI’s Mary Brooks scored just before the buzzer to knot the match at  5-5 going into the fourth quarter.

Warde fired in a goal from outside just before the shot-clock buzzer to give UCi its first lead of the night a 6-5 with 7:26 left.

Dias tied the match with her third goal of the night with 1:37 left. After Carlson gave UCI the lead again Lopes Da Silva tied it up with her second goal with 38 seconds left and a UCI shot went over the goal to force overtime.

In the first of two 3-minute overtime periods, Nixon gave UH the lead with 25 seconds left, but the Wahine were called for a foul with 5 seconds showing and Brooks scored on the power-play with 1 second left to close the period at 8-8.

Lopes Da Silva scored the lone goal of the second overtime period and UCI’s desperation shot at the buzzer went high to trigger a UH celebration.

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