LOS ANGELES — Tessa Bailey-Findley (Anaheim) scored three goals on senior day, Nanea Fujiyama (Honolulu) had a game-high four, and the No. 4 Occidental College women's water polo team went on an 8-2 run after the first quarter to beat No. 3 Cal Lutheran 12-7 at Taylor Pool on Wednesday.
After losing two of their first three SCIAC games in overtime, it was almost must-win victory for the Tigers (19-6, 2-2 SCIAC).
"In a sense it was," Occidental coach Larry Zubrin said. "Having lost the last two home games, (this win) gets us some confidence back."
Oxy jumped out in front 2-0 to start before giving up three unanswered to end the first quarter trailing 3-2. In the second, Fujiyama scored a pair of goals and Bailey-Findley had one to put the Tigers in front 5-4 by halftime.
In the second half, Oxy used a 5-1 surge to put the game out of reach.
The key was defense, according to Zubrin.
"I knew if we contained them on defense that we would get opportunities on offense and that's exactly what happened."
Goalie Rachel Adeleye (Elizabeth, N.J.) anchored the stingy Oxy defensive unit with 10 saves. Lauren Ransom (Albuquerque, N.M.) and April DesCombes (Riverside) combined for five steals off of the bench for the Tigers.
Mieke Howell led the Regals (15-8, 3-1 SCIAC) with two goals. Morgan McCardell, Christina Messer, Kelsey Bergemann, Tiffany Ly and Kylee Tomasetti each had one.
The hope now is that the Tigers can use the momentum from handing Cal Lutheran its first SCIAC loss to get hot at the right time of the season.
"Ideally we can parlay this victory into a strong run through the rest of the season," Zubrin said.
The Tigers are back in action at La Verne on April 14 at 11 a.m.
"We still have big SCIAC games in front of us and the goal now is to keep focused on the next challenge," Zubrin said.