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Women's Water Polo - Fri, Apr. 25, 2014

LINKS: GCC CHAMPIONSHIPS | BOX SCORE | PHOTOS

LOS ANGELES -- A fast start and a strong finish moved top-seeded San Diego State to the 2014 Golden Coast Conference Championships, defeating fifth-seed Pacific 9-6 in the second semifinal on Friday afternoon at the Burns Aquatics Center.

The Aztecs (23-11) scored three unanswered goals in the first quarter and then held Pacific (13-17) to just one in the fourth quarter to hold off a comeback attempt to advance to the GCC Championship game on Saturday against second-seed LMU at 2:30 pm. Pacific will take on Santa Clara in the third place game at 1:00 pm, preceeded by Azusa Pacific facing California Baptist for fifth place at 11:30 am.

ALyssa Diacono scored three goals, while Anique Hermann, Ioli Benekou and Caroline Israels scored two goals each. Pacific's Gracie Smith scored four goals to lead the Tigers.

Diacono scored two goals and Israels added another as the Aztecs jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter.

Pacific started a comeback with back-to-back goals from Malena Prlain and Smith to cut the lead to one, 3-2, with 4:12 left. However, the Aztecs capped the quarter with a pair of goals to make it 5-2.

The lead went to four, 6-2,  on Diacono's third goal with 7:02 to play in the third quarter.

Pacific would make it ineteresting by cutting the lead to 7-5 on a 6-on-5 goal with 2:32 to play from Rebecca Wright.

Goalie Rachel Mitchell and the Aztecs' defense stiffened to earn the win.