Commerce Captures Women’s 20-Under Water Polo Open Championship

COMMERCE, Calif., May 19, 2002—Commerce ‘A’ defeated San Diego Shores, 9-8, in an overtime thriller at the Commerce Aquatorium to win the 2002 Women’s 20-Under Open Championship on Sunday.

San Diego jumped out to an early 3-2 lead before scoring three unanswered goals to take a 6-2 lead at the half. But that lead didn’t hold for long.

Commerce powered out on a 5-0 run to start the second half and led, 7-6, following a goal by Patty Cardenas with 6:13 to play in the game. But San Diego reclaimed the lead at 8-7 following a pair of perimeter lob scores by Kelly Rulon.

With 1:28 remaining in regulation play, Cardenas battled through a double-team at set to float in the game-tying goal for Commerce.

Shores managed a steal with 36 seconds remaining and called time out to advance the ball to half-tank and set up its offense. Shores tried to get the ball into two-meters following the time out, but Commerce knocked the ball away, thwarting Shores’ attempt at a last shot and forcing overtime.

The 8-8 impasse was shattered with a minute remaining in the first overtime on a goal by Commerce’s Sheetal Narsai. Commerce led, 9-8, heading into the second overtime frame. As it turns out, that was all that Commerce would need. Both teams threw up blanks in the second overtime as Commerce held on for the 9-8 win.

“At halftime, I told them that they were creating good opportunities for themselves, but that they just weren’t cashing in on them,” said Commerce head coach Gabe Martinez after the game. “In the second half, we started to take advantage of those opportunities.”

It was especially nice for Martinez to win the championship at home.

“It’s always nice to win at home,” he said, soaked after his post-game dunk.

Narsai, who scored three goals in the win, garnered tournament MVP honors.

2002 Women’s 20 and Under Open Championships


Lauren Boruta, Santa Barbara
Erin Brown, San Diego Shores A
Patty Cardenas, Commerce A
Lydia Gardner, Navy
Casey Kerney, Navy
Kristina Kunkel, Golden West
Alex Lopez, Commerce A
Melissa Madrid, Commerce A
Viviana Moralis, Commerce A
Jenna Murphy, Newport
Aimee Stachowski, Golden West
Kelly Rulon, San Diego Shores A
Moriah Van Norman, San Diego Shores A
Shana Welch, Navy

Most Valuable Goalkeeper
Alex Feune de Columbi, San Diego Shores A

Most Valuable Player
Sheetal Narsai, Commerce A


Jessica Ball, Newport
Jamie Brown, San Diego Shores B
Molly Cahill, Santa Barbara
Rachel Comacho, San Diego Shores B
Kelly Donahue, Navy
Erica Figge, Golden West
Megan Hausmann, San Diego Shores A
Kacy Kunkel, Golden West
Meredith McColl, Golden West
Jennifer Rueda, Commerce A
Katie Rulon, San Diego Shores B

(Courtesy of Eric Velazquez & USA Water Polo, posted by Michael Collins)

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