Water polo splits games at Princeton

By Scott Padula

Staff Writer

The women’s water polo team started its 2012 season with two wins and two losses last weekend at the Princeton Invitational. The Bison opened the tournament by dropping games to Harvard 14-5 and Colorado State 9-7. The Orange and Blue were able to turn things around on Sunday by defeating George Washington 16-8 before wrapping up the weekend with a 9-3 win over Mercyhurst.

In the first game of the invitational, the Orange and Blue matched Harvard in the first quarter but could only post one goal in the second as Harvard took a 7-3 lead into the half. The Bison could not overcome the deficit in the second half.

Hallie Kennan ’12 led the Orange and Blue in points with two goals and two assists. Krystle Morgan ’13 was another highlight for the Bison with six ejections drawn. Stephanie Ovalle ’14, Taylor Barnett ’15 and Shannon Carroll ’13 also registered points for the Bison. Rena Heim ’14 was also impressive for the Orange and Blue, recording 10 saves.

In the nightcap, the Orange and Blue fell behind early, allowing Colorado State to score six goals in the first quarter. Behind the tutelage of first year head coach John McBride, the Orange and Blue tightened their defense and mounted a furious comeback. Although they only allowed three goals over the next three quarters, the Bison were unable to steal a come-from-behind victory. Kennan, Amanda Skonezney ’12 and Morgan all scored two goals while Skonezney also recorded two assists. Heim had another good game in goal, making eight saves.

In their first action Sunday, the Bison started the game strong against George Washington, taking a 9-6 advantage into the intermission and never looking back. Skonezney, Heather Smith ’14, Julianne Valdes ’14, Morgan and Barnett were among the Orange and Blue to find the back of the net at least twice. In total, 12 different Bison registered a point.

In the final game of the weekend, the Orange and Blue dominated the first half, outscoring Mercyhurst 8-0. The impressive defensive effort was marked by denying the Lakers 10 out of 11 times in six-on-five situations. Skonezney and Barbara Peterson ’15 carried the load on offense, accounting for seven of the nine goals. Other Bison who registered a point included Kennan, Carroll, Smith and Brittany Connell ’12. Aside from recording an assist, Connell was also solid in net with four saves.

“The first day was still a learning experience for us. We’ve been practicing only against each other for the past month so figuring out how to defend or score against other teams took some time. By the second day of games we started playing our type of water polo. We made significant improvements by our fourth game and we hope to pick up where we left off for our home tournament this upcoming weekend,” Kennan said.

The Orange and Blue have four more games this weekend when they host the Bison Invitational. The Bison will face Siena and Brown on Saturday before they see Wagner and No. 15 Hartwick on Sunday. 

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