Women's water polo splits weekend tournament with two losses, one win| Mar 11, 2018
This past weekend, the No. 17 Princeton women’s water polo team (7–6) traveled to Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, for their fourth tournament of the season. They played three teams, suffering two hard-fought losses to No. 13 Hartwick College (16–4) and No. 9 Michigan University (18–7) and coming away with a win against Brown University (5–9).
The Tigers first faced Hartwick Saturday morning. With a home-court advantage in their shallow-deep pool and a rowdy crowd, the Hawks defensively outplayed the Tigers in the first quarter. Playing high in the lanes, they were able to take advantage of many steals and turnovers to convert on the counter-attack, going up 3–0 within the first few minutes of play. With the addition of a successful 5-meter penalty shot, they were up 5–1 by the end of the first quarter.
Princeton slowed down their offense in the second quarter and outscored their opponent 3–2 to make it 7–4 by halftime. Nearing the end of the third quarter, the Tigers tied the Hawks 8–8 with goals from junior attacker Eliza Britt and senior utility Haley Wan, but the Hawks converted a 6-on-5 play in the last few seconds before the buzzer to enter the fourth quarter 9–8.
Battling back and forth the entire last quarter, the two teams were tied 12–12 with a minute left to play. The Tigers stole a pass into set and attempted to pass it back to the goalie. However, the Hawks were able to steal the ball and push it to the back of the cage, making it 13–12. On their last possession, the Tigers earned an ejection for a 6-on-5 opportunity but unfortunately failed to convert to tie the game. This was only Princeton’s second loss to Hartwick in their past 43 encounters.
Later that afternoon, the Orange and Black took on Michigan, a longtime rival, whom they lost to last year in the Eastern Championships 5–4. Wan put the Tigers on the board with 4:13 to go in the first quarter. The Wolverines quickly responded with three goals to end the first quarter 3–1.
The Tigers were held scoreless for the next two quarters as the Wolverines went on a scoring rampage, holding an aggressive press and utilizing their speed for many counter-attack finishes. The Wolverines entered the fourth quarter up 12–1. Wan scored again in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, and junior utility Lindsey Kelleher scored two more goals by the buzzer to end the game 13–4 in favor of the opponent.
Sunday, Princeton took down fellow Ivy League team Brown, 13–7. Wan again put away the first goal of the game on a counter-attack within the first two minutes. The Bears responded by converting a 6-on-5 the next possession, but the Tigers would dominate the first quarter 6–2 with another goal by Wan, a near-side skip shot from Britt, a rollout doughnut shot from freshman defender Kailie McGeoy, and two tallies from sophomore attacker Amy Castellano. By halftime, the Tigers held a 9–3 lead and kept up their strong momentum for the rest of the game for the win. Castellano finished with a career-high five goals.
“I think that this weekend was okay. We lost a really tough game that we could have won against the Hawks, but it’s still early in the season. We have a lot of tough games coming up in California that I’m looking forward to playing,” said senior center Chelsea Johnson.
In California for the next several games, the Tigers open with No. 24 California Baptist University (12–9) at 1:00 p.m. PST and Marist College (9–10) at 4:45 p.m. PST on Friday, March 16.