HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i women’s water polo team beat UC San Diego 14-12 in their semifinal matchup of the Big West Conference Championships Friday morning.
 
It was a fast start for the Hawai’I offense, which led wire-to-wire in their victory. Freshman attacker Morgan McDowall exploded for a three-goal first quarter. At the same time, sophomore Alba Bonamusa Boix added two goals to set up a 5-3 first-quarter lead.
 
In the second quarter, McDowall added her fourth of the match. Shortly after, she was penalized for entering the field of play too early and ejected for the rest of the match.
 
No trouble for the Rainbow Wahine as four different ‘Bows scored in the first half to take a 9-5 lead at the break.
 
UH kept the pressure up in the third quarter as sophomore utility Lucia Gomez de la Puente fired her second goal to get things started. Senior Elyse Lemay-Lavoie continued to hammer the scoreboard after tipping her miss off the crossbar. Bonamusa finished off her four-goal effort to extend the lead to six by the end of the third quarter.
 
In the fourth quarter, Hawai’i’s offense backed off and gave the Tritons the chance to bring the game within two. However, Lucia Gomez de la Puente put the game on ice when she netted an open net goal that led UH to a 14-12 final score.
 
Bonamusa Boix and McDowall paced the ‘Bows with four goals each. Freshman utility Paula Prats Rodriguez lent a helping hand in the victory with a game-high two assists. Senior goalie Molly DiLalla posted eight saves and added an assist.
 
The Rainbow Wahine are back tomorrow to face the winner of No. 2 UC Irvine and No. 3 Long Beach State. The championship match is set to begin at 5:45 pm HT at the Duke Kahanamoku Aquatic Complex.