Women’s water polo overcomes Harvard to place third at Southern Championships

Andrew Arnao, Senior Writer, Copy Editor

The women’s water polo team finished third at the Southern Championships in Cambridge, Mass., earning a spot in the upcoming CWPA Championship. The Bison split two matches against Mercyhurst and Brown on April 12 while toppling host Harvard on April 13.

“Overall, I think we performed very well at Southerns,” Mackenzie Ferry ’14 said. “The third place finish is the best we have done since placing first in 2010. We played several tough teams, but the highlight of the weekend was definitely defeating Harvard in their own pool. By playing strong team defense and sticking to our fundamentals on offense we were able to win that game.”

Entering the tournament as the No. 2 seed, the Bison made quick work of No. 5 Mercyhurst, triumphing 8-3. The Orange and Blue jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first quarter and led 3-1 at halftime. The Bison offense exploded for four goals in the third quarter and added one more in the fourth quarter for an 8-3 victory.

Eleanor Marrs ’16 scored three goals for the Bison, while Hannah Sunday ’16 added two scores. Julianne Valdés ’14, Sayeh Bozorghadad ’15, and Samantha Deana ’14 contributed a goal each, while Tegan Stanbach ’17 recorded two steals. Goalie Rena Heim ’14 made nine saves, while back-up goalie Haley Derrod ’17 also picked up a save in three minutes of work.

Against No. 3 Brown, the Bison defense faltered as the Bears scored six first-quarter goals, leading to a 12-9 defeat. Despite goals from seven different Bison, including two scores for Valdés and Marrs, Brown managed to hang on and hand the Bison a 12-9 loss. Valdés also added two assists, while Sunday had eight ejections drawn, and Heim recorded 10 saves.

Paired with No. 4 Harvard in the consolation bracket, the Orange and Blue were victorious in a 9-6 win. The win was slow to come by, as the Bison fell behind 2-1 in the first quarter. The Orange and Blue responded by outscoring the Crimson in each of the remaining three quarters, with Valdés and Ferry scoring three goals each. Sunday, Marrs, and Deana also added individual scores that proved the difference in the Bison’s 9-6 triumph. Valdés, Ferry, Marrs, and Sunday combined for eight assists, while Valdés and Marrs added two steals each. Sunday had six ejections drawn, and Heim picked up seven saves.

“As always we will be facing some very talented teams at the CWPA Championship, but this year I feel that our team really has all the technical skill as well as the attitude to be successful,” Ferry said. “We are looking forward to a great weekend of games. We are especially excited to have qualified for the CWPA Championship this year because it is being held at our home venue. I know the seniors are looking forward to ending their careers with home games.”

The Orange and Blue will take the weekend off to prepare and practice before hosting the CWPA Championship in the home pool at Kinney Natatorium, starting on April 25.

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