A balanced attack propels women’s water polo to an undefeated weekend

Kelsey O’Loughlin, Contributing Writer

The Bison women’s water polo team traveled to Erie, Pa. on Feb. 15-16 to attend the Mercyhurst Invite. The Orange and Blue began their performance on a positive note, going 2-0 on the first day. The day began with a 14-6 win over Gannon. Ally Furano ’21 scored the first goal for the Bison within the first 45 seconds of the game.

Utility Kali Hyham ’22 scored three straight goals in the first period, assisted by teammates A. Furano, Nina Benson ’20 and Megan Lacroix ’23. The Orange and Blue then led at the half by a score of 12-4. In the third and fourth periods, Anna Bautista ’23 and Gigi Rojahn ’20 each contributed a goal. Afterwards, the Bison competed against host Mercyhurst, winning 18-14. Beginning the second period with a 5-1 lead, goals were scored by five different players, including the sibling tandem of A. Furano and Paige Furano ’22.

In the fourth period, the Bison had a 15-13 lead, but Mercyhurst was inching closer. Benson scored two goals 46 seconds apart. As the team pulled away by four, the sixth goal by Hyham was secured with 1:41 left in the game. The Bison finished this game with contributions by seven different players.

The Orange and Blue returned Sunday morning to face off against McKendree. Hyham and A. Furano showed out, as 13 of the 15 goals were scored by the duo against the Bearcats. With a 10-3 lead at the half, the Bison had enough cushion going into the third period. Pulling within five, McKendree gained some traction. This was quickly shut down by the work of Benson, A. Furano and Hyham. The Bison reigned victorious with a score of 15-7 over McKendree.

To close out the weekend, the Bison outlasted Salem by a one-goal victory. Hyham made a huge impact once again, scoring five goals. In the first period, the Furano sisters produced two goals for the Bison, before Salem reacted with two goals as well. The first and third goals in the first period came by the career-high five assists by Lacroix, the highest recorded so far this season. The 5-3 lead at the half for the Bison was comfortable, as they came out of the gate up by two. The Bison kept the lead with a score of 9-5 at the beginning of the fourth period. With 40 seconds remaining, Salem knocked off three straight to make it 11-10.

Benson said that this weekend’s success was due to the team’s tough mindset, which will help them going into regular season. 

“This weekend our determination to win and continuous push, regardless of the score, is what made us successful. This will be used when we enter regular season play as we will need to continue to push and fight even when we are down or feel like we aren’t playing as well as we could,” Benson said.

The Bison will face off against Iona College, Saint Francis, Long Beach State and Michigan on Feb. 29 at the University of Michigan.

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