By Scott Padula
The women’s water polo team wrapped up its regular season last weekend, earning a split against No. 13 Michigan and George Washington at Maryland’s Eppley Recreation Center. The Bison started the weekend by losing to Michigan 12-7, but bounced back in their second game, defeating the Colonials for the third time of the season by a score of 14-12. The Bison are now 13-19 on the year.
Kicking off the weekend against Michigan, the Orange and Blue surrendered early goals to the Wolverines. The Michigan squad found the back of the net three times in the first quarter, and by the end of the second quarter held a commanding 7-2 lead. Although both the Wolverines and the Orange and Blue scored five goals after the intermission, the Bison were unable to overcome the first-half deficit.
Rena Heim ’14 kept the game close with spectacular goalkeeping for the Orange and Blue, stopping 12 shots. On the offensive end, the Bison were led by Julianne Valdes ’14, Taylor Barnett ’15 and Barbara Peterson ’15, who scored two goals apiece.
In their second game of the weekend, against George Washington, the Orange and Blue maintained control throughout, never trailing at the end of a quarter.
They were able to control the game thanks to phenomenal individual performances. Barnett tallied seven goals in the game, matching a program record and increasing her total to a team-leading 56 on the year. Barnett also set a team high for the season by drawing seven ejections in the game. Her season total of 70 ejections drawn moves her to fifth all-time in program history.
Valdes was also impressive, tying a program record by dishing out six assists. Tara Murao ’13 registered four assists of her own.
“We are all aware of the potential our team has and know that winning Southern Championships is definitely within our reach. As long as we don’t play down to the other teams, I know we’ll be successful. Having these games at home, with all of our family and friends coming out to support us, just motivates us to play harder. We definitely won’t go down without a fight,” Barnett said.
The Orange and Blue will enjoy a home-pool advantage when they host the Southern Championships this weekend. The Bison will begin the tournament by facing George Washington Saturday morning. The winner of that match will face Princeton later in the evening.