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Garcia leads La Verne past St. Francis (PA) 17-11

LA VERNE, Calif. — Guarina Garcia, who has been quiet through the first two games of the season by her lofty standard, exploded for six goals and four assists to lead the La Verne women's water polo team to a 17-11 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) on Tuesday at La Verne Aquatic Center.

Garcia, a 2016 All-American, scored La Verne's first goal of the game and assisted on the subsequent two goals to help the Leopards get out to a 3-2 lead after the first quarter. She was held without an attacking point in the second quarter but tallied four goals in the second half and gave out two more assists to help seal the game.

She was also active on defense, coming up with five steals.

"Guarina was a little more relaxed today," La Verne co-head coach Mason Cox said. "I think she thinks that she has to do too much but she needs to rely on her teammates and get them involved more and she did that today. When she gets other players involved, that makes our whole team better."

Besides Garcia, six players got on the board for La Verne. Stephanie Rosero, another 2016 All-American, scored five goals with two coming off Garcia's assists. Megan Little finished with two goals. Candice Vorbeck, Jasmine Bustamante, Zoe Kratzer and Rya Minow scored one goal apiece.

"We got a lot of people involved today on offense and we need more people to step up offensively off the bench," Cox said. "We have a pretty good idea of what we are going to get out of the first group and the second group really needs to step it up going forward."

The Red Flash tied the game at 4-4 early in the second period after a goal by Amber Rogers but the Leopards ripped off seven unanswered goals to take a 11-4 lead and never looked back.

The Leopards outshot the Red Flash 29-18 and was efficient on power play, converting 7 of 11 man-up opportunities.

Emily Wickenheiser led St. Francis with four goals. Kelly Fehr added three and Kelsey Gring had two.

La Verne returns to action this weekend at Claremont Convergence, hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer. The Leopards face Azusa Pacific and Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday at Axelrood Pool (CMS); they take on Fresno Pacific and UC Santa Barbara on Saturday at Haldeman Pool (PP).