Sophomore Kaitlin Hartman scored the match-deciding goal with 5:32 left in the fourth period Saturday to advance Cal State San Bernardino to the consolation final of the Western Water Polo Association championship tournament.
The Coyotes, 19-17 on the season, will face the winner of the Cal State Bakersfield-Cal State Monterey Bay match at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center at Loyola Marymount University.
Before Hartmans deciding goal, the Coyotes seeded No. 7 in the tournament had a nip-and-tuck battle with No. 6 seed Sonoma State before prevailing 8-7, keeping the Seawolves at bay during the final 5:32 of the match.
All-WWPA first-team selection and two-time all-American Freyja Berg had three goals for the Coyotes as did her teammate, senior Ashley Hays. Senior Italia Iossif scored the other point for CSUSB. Freshman goalkeeper Bryanna Burns had three saves.
The Coyotes took a 3-1 lead early in the first period but SSU rallied to tie the match at 3-3 and then took a 4-3 lead over CSUSB in the second period and led 5-4 at halftime.
CSUSB got two goals from Hays and a third from Berg to forge a 7-7 tie after three quarters.
Harmans goal came right after Samantha Mullins of Sonoma State was cited for an ejection foul at 5:52, leaving the Seawolves short a player and the Coyotes capitalized 20 seconds later.
CSUSBs defense held Sonoma State scoreless in the final period.
CAL STATE SAN BERNARDINO 8, SONOMA STATE 7
CSUSB goals: Freyja Berg 3, Ashley Hays 3, Italia Iossif, Kaitlin Hartman. Goalie saves: Bryanna Burns (3).
Sonoma St. goals: Samantha Burchard, Jessica Scott, Jenna Bole, Lauren Smith, Emily Pearce, Sara Watt, Samantha Mullins. Goalie saves: Lysa Limbard (9).