By Katherine Harris
Coming back from an early loss, the women’s water polo team rebounded for a strong 4-1 performance on the weekend at the CWPA/MAAC Crossover event hosted by Princeton University.
“We had a great week of practice and this weekend showed that our hard work is starting to pay off. It was a huge weekend for us and we came away with some much-needed big wins,” Julianne Valdes ’14 said.
The Bison traveled to Princeton on Friday to face the No. 18 home team in their first game of the weekend. Despite 11 saves from goalkeeper Rena Heim ’14 as well as a strong offensive showing of two goals and an assist from Valdes, the Orange and Blue were not able to stop Princeton’s scoring drive in the 12-6 loss.
The women quickly rebounded the next morning, as they played a solid Siena team. Bison scoring was balanced with 10 different players netting goals in the 12-5 victory, and Taylor Barnett ’15 played an impressive game, recording three goals and two assists for the Orange and Blue.
The Bison faced No. 20 Iona later in the day in a much closer match than the morning one, eventually prevailing 12-10. Heim had a season-high 13 saves, and the defense played an important role in the victory with their second quarter shutout giving the Orange and Blue offense a chance to pull ahead and take the lead. Hallie Kennan ’12 led the scoring, with her three goals and two assists placing her 10th all-time on the school record books for assists. Krystle Morgan ’13 (three goals) and Valdes (two goals and two assists) rounded out the offense for the Bison.
“We are starting to really come together as a team and I’m really excited for the rest of the season,” Valdes said.
The Orange and Blue entered the last day of the event hoping to improve on their 2-1 record for the weekend, and they did so, starting the day with an 11-6 victory over Villanova. The game was another one with very balanced team scoring, with eight different Bison scoring goals in the contest. Mackenzie Ferry ’14 shone for the Bison with four goals, and Heim had 10 saves, making it her third double-digit save game of the weekend.
On Sunday afternoon, the Bison played their final match of the weekend against Wagner, and having lost to them just last weekend, the team was out for payback. The Bison offense exploded with five players scoring multiple goals, and Heim once again anchored the defense with 12 saves. Valdes, Kennan and Morgan each recorded two goals and two assists for the Orange and Blue as the team pulled out a 11-9 victory to round out the weekend.
“We were very happy with our wins this weekend but we weren’t perfect,” head coach John McBride said. “It is a very long season and we still have quite a bit to work on but this weekend should give us the mental and physical foundation to build upon.”
With the 4-1 weekend, the Bison improved their total record to 7-6. Though their loss to Princeton put them at 0-2 in conference play, the women will have an opportunity to improve their record this weekend as they travel to the Harvard Invitational.