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Relton Breaks All-Time Saves Mark As Tigers Sweep Pacific Invitational

Feb 2, 2013

Junior goalkeeper Michele Relton became the school's all-time saves leader as the No. 17 Pacific women's water polo team finished a perfect 3-0 at the 2013 Pacific Invitational Saturday, Feb. 2.

The Tigers escaped an upset bid from CSU East Bay, 8-7, in their first game before cruising by Azusa Pacific, 13-6, in a rematch from last weekend in Santa Barbara. In the de facto championship game, Pacific upset No. 16 Hartwick, 9-7 to finish unblemished on the day. The Tigers improved to 6-2 with the three wins, matching last year's mark for best start in school history.

Relton finished the day with 38 blocks and now owns 717 career saves. She is the first goalkeeper in Pacific's 17-year history to have recorded more than 700 career saves. She set a new season high with 15 blocks in the Tigers' afternoon win over Azusa Pacific. Junior Rebecca Wright led Pacific with seven scores on the day, including a hat trick against CSU East Bay.

Fellow junior Malena Prlain notched five goals, including a four-goal effort against Azusa Pacific. Sophomore Brydie Pye and freshman Gracie Smith added four goals apiece, five of which came against Hartwick as Smith recorded her first collegiate hat trick versus the Hawks.

The first game saw both squads take time to warm up as the match was tied at 1-1 after the first frame. Pacific found its rhythm in the second quarter, notching the first three goals of the period to take a 4-1 lead with 3:11 on the clock. Wright scored the Tigers' first two scores before sophomore Noelle Mann capped the run.

CSUEB stopped Pacific's run with a goal at the 2:43 mark, and the two teams would trade goals as the Tigers took a 5-3 lead into the half. Pacific went back up by three early in the third on a goal from Prlain, but CSU East Bay ripped off back-to-back scores to pull to within one with two minutes left in the frame.

Junior Elise Martin found the back of the cage with 44 seconds on the clock to spot the Tigers a two-goal lead heading into the final frame. The visitors notched a goal two minutes into the fourth quarter to cut Pacific's lead to one, but Pye put one past the Pioneers' goalkeeper with two minutes left to put the Tigers back up by two. CSUEB would respond with another score on its next possession and had a chance to tie the game with 56 seconds left but Relton made a huge save to preserve Pacific's victory.

Casey Rushforth, Sara Hudyn and Claire Pierce all scored a pair of goals for the Pioneers. Goalkeeper Marrina Nation blocked eight shots in four quarters of work. Pacific's second game was tight through the first quarter as the Tigers led by just one goal, 4-3. The next 16 minutes saw Pacific turn up the intensity on both ends, notching three goals in the second frame and four goals in the third to take an 11-3 lead into the fourth quarter. APU was held scoreless for the duration of the second and third frames before breaking its drought at the 7:13 mark.

The visitors would score again midway through the fourth, pulling to within six, but the Tigers found the back of the cage twice more down the stretch to secure the win. Taylor Whitney led the Cougars with three goals while Brittney Garrigan chipped in two scores. Jessica Armagost blocked 13 shots for Azusa Pacific in four quarters of work. In the first-ever women's water polo night game at Pacific, the Tigers and Hawks traded goals to open the first quarter before Pacific fired off three consecutive scores to take a 4-1 lead into the second frame.

Hartwick responded with back-to-back goals in the second period, but the Tigers regained a two-goal advantage on a power-player goal from Wright at the 2:47 mark. Each team added another score down the stretch as the Tigers led 6-4 at the half. The visitors remained in the game thanks to two more goals in the third, the second of which tied the match at 6-6 with 3:01 on the clock. With 22 seconds remaining, Martin found Smith in the center, and she put away a menacing backhand goal to put Pacific up 7-6 with one period left. Hartwick would tie the match early in the fourth frame but the Tigers got a power-play goal from freshman Taylor Adair at the 5:32 mark before Wright iced the game for Pacific with a late score.

Sami Capparelli and Katie Ermakova both scored two goals for Hartwick. Goalkeeper Haley Cox finished the game with six saves. Pacific is idle next weekend before resuming play Sunday, Feb. 17, at the UC Davis Challenge.

The Tigers will square off with Cal Lutheran at 9 a.m. before taking on rival UC Davis at 1:15 p.m. 

No. 17 Pacific 8, CSU East Bay 7
CSU East Bay 1 - 2 - 2 - 2 -- 7
Pacific 1 - 4 - 2 - 1 -- 8  Goals
Pacific - Wright 3, Adair, Mann, Martin, Prlain, Pye
CSU East Bay - Hudyn 2, Pierce 2, Rushforth 2, McAfee  Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific - Relton 10
CSU East Bay - Nation 8 No. 17 Pacific 13, Azusa Pacific 6
Azusa Pacific 3 - 0 - 0 - 3 -- 6
CSU East Bay 4 - 3 - 4 - 2 -- 13  Goals
Pacific - Prlain 4, Wright 2, Adair, Mann, Pye, Smith, Torre
Azusa Pacific - Whitney 3, Garrigan 2, Hess  Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific - Relton 15
Azusa Pacific - Armagost 13  No. 17 Pacific 9, No. 16 Hartwick 7
Hartwick 1 - 3 - 0 - 3 -- 7
Pacific 4 - 2 - 1 - 2 -- 9 Goals
Pacific -  Smith 3, Pye 2, Wright 2, Adair, Mann
Hartwick - Capparelli 2, Ermakova 2, J. Dendy Young, Kosich, Tait Goalkeeper Saves
Pacific - Relton 13
Hartwick - Cox 6

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