Women’s Water Polo: College Conference Championships

What do women's water polo teams from USC, Hawaii, Princeton, UC San Diego and Iona have in common? They all will be in Boston, Massachusetts the weekend of May 10-12 competing in the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships. All five teams captured their respective tournament championships this past weekend.

The remainder of the eight-team championship field, and seedings in the tournament, will be announced tonight (Monday, April 28) at 8 p.m. Eastern time on ncaa.com in a live selection show.

Big West Conference, Irvine, california
The conference championship game between Hawai'i and UC Irvine was as good as it gets. But it was to be expected–all three contests between the two schools were decided by one goal each. Hawai'i, in its initial Big West season, captured the championship with a double-overtime win over the Anteaters. The tournament MVP was Monika Eggers from Hawai'i.

7th Place: UC Davis Aggies 10 vs. Pacific Tigers 4
UC Davis led the entire game, starting with Carmen Eggert's goal at the 6:48 mark of the first period. Erin Schlueter added the Aggies' second goal 33 seconds later. Pacific's Gracie Smith brought the deficit to one, but Eggert's second goal gave UC Davis the 3-1 lead after one period of play.

Malena Prlain scored at 6:08 of the second period. Then the Aggies scored seven unanswered goals until 37 seconds left in the third period. During the streak, Eggert scored three goals, Kathryn Bailey put two in the net, and Courtney Weddle and Keelia Houston earned one each. Elise Martin stopped the streak, and Noelle Martin put one in for hte Tigers to bring the final score to 10-4.

5th Place: Cal State Northridge Matadors 10, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 7
Shelby Haroldson scored 45 seconds into the contest to give the Gauchos a 1-0 lead. Northridge scored two goals to go ahead 2-1. Samantha Murphy gave UCSB the tying goal. With the score 2-2, the Matadors' Lindsy Nelson scored the first of her three goals to give them a 3-2 lead after the first period. Bryn Hudson's goal tied the game, but Nelson replied at 2:07. Kelcie Ferreira added a goal for a 5-3 halftime lead.

Nelson completed her hat trick seconds into the third period. Goals by Celena Paotopulos and Molly Henahan gave Northridge an 8-4 third period lead; Mackenzie Baber scored for the Gauchos. Fourth period goals by Marisa Young and Melissa Doll gave Northridge a 10-4 lead with 5:30 left. Shelby Haroldson and two goals from Murphy lessened the deficit to 10-7.

Cal State Long Beach 49ers 8, San Diego State Aztecs 6
Coriann Snyder scored first for Long Beach State, but Anique Hermann scored twice to give the Aztecs a 2-1 first period lead. Snyder again got the first goal of the period, tying things up in the second. The two teams exchanged goals with San Diego State taking a 4-3 lead into the break.

Snyder tied things up at 4-4, getting her hat trick in the process. Chelsea Parks gave the 49ers their first lead. Taelor Moreno fired right back for the Aztecs. Christina Kotsia took advantage of a double exlcusion to end the third period at 6-5, 49ers. Parks' second goal made it 7-5, then San Diego State's Emily Whalen put the Aztecs within 1 with 3:14 left in the match. Claire Martin scored as the game drew to a close for the final 8-6 score.

Championship: Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine 5, UC Irvine Anteaters 4 (double overtime)
What a way to start out in a conference! In a thrilling double overtime match, top-seeded Hawai'i defeated the nost No. 2 UC Irvine squad. The victory earned the Rainbow Wahine the right to play in the NCAA Championships, making their first appearance since 2009.

The score was tied 3-3 after three periods of play. Tournament MVP Monika Eggers, who scored four goals in the game, earned her hat trick with 4:26 left in the game. It looked as though Hawai'i would win in regulation play. However, the Anteaters' Hannah Croghan scored with only eight ticks on the clock. The first overtime period was scoreless. Eggers scored the game winner with an assist from Paula Chillida Esforzado. UC Irvine had one last possession, but couldn't score.

CWPA Eastern Championships, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Princeton Tigers repeat as CWPA Eastern Champions, and will be traveling to Boston to compete in the NCAA Championships. Michigan finished in the runner-up position. Princeton's Katie Rigler was chosen the tournament MVP, and Tiger goalie Ashleigh Johnson was the Rookie of the Tournament. Matt Anderson, Michigan's coach, was given the Doc Hunkler Coach of the Tournament award.

11th Place: Mercyhurst Lakers 12, Notre Dame Falcons 10
Mercyhurst only trailed once in the game–at the very beginning. Notre Dame's Lisette Calderon scored on a penalty shot 53 seconds into the contest. Olena Orlova gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead with back-to-back goals. Dina Barnett put a man advantage goal in the net with 1:16 remaining to give Notre Dame its third goal. After the first quarter, Elena Williams closed out Notre Dame's four goal-scoring run 46 seconds into the second period. The Lakers came back with goals by Kylie McCormick and Bella Hersh to narrow the margin at 4-3. The two teams traded goals the remainder of the period, bringing the first half to a close at 6-4.

Calderon brought the deficit down to a single goal to begin the third quarter. More back-and-forth scoring ensued, until Gina-Bella Mata'afa claimed her first goal of the game and Williams earned her second to bring the score to 9-6. Early in the fourth quarter, Mercyhurst's Calderon narrowed the gap to 9-7, but goals by Lyons and Mata'afa gave Mercyhurst an 11-7 lead. Following another Calderon goal, Mata'afa ended the Lakers' scoring with the team's 12th goal. Notre Dame attempted a comeback with goals from McCormick and Calderon, but time ran out on the Falcons.

9th Place: Connecticut Camels 10, Gannon Golden Knights 9 (OT)
The Division 3 representative, Connecticut College, got a goal from Player of the Game Kelsey Mallward with 40 seconds remaining in the first period of overtime to give the Camels a 10-9 victory over Gannon.

Mallward also scored the first two goals of the contest. The Golden Knights' Katelyn Jacobs, with three seconds left in the period, narrowed the gap to 2-1. Millward earned her hat trick in the second period, but Gannon got 6-on-5 goals from Shanen Lazenby and Janelle McDaniels to tie it up, 3-3. Kate Jacobson made it 4-3, Connecticut, with 1:16 left in the half.

Isabella Baneux, Nicky Jasbon and Millward built up a Camel 7-3 lead midway through the third period. Jacobs and Bailey Gadd lowered the deficit to 7-5 in the next two minutes. Goals went back and forth, bringing the score to 9-6 at the end of the third period. Jacobs scored two goals and Lazenby added one to tie the game up at 9-9 and force overtime.

7th Place: Bucknell Bison 7, George Washington Colonials 6
Erin Donoghue opened up the scoring for George Washington. Bucknell's Taylor Barnett scored 33 seconds later on a 6-on-5. Megan Brolley got the Colonials back on top later in the period for a 2-1 first-period advantage. Twenty-three seconds into the second period, Heather Smith equalized it at 2 each, but seconds later Rachael Bentley regained the lead for George Washington.

The Bison then began a period of 17:09 where they scored three goals and held the Colonials scoreless. During that time, Barbara Peterson and Julianne Valdez scored to make it 4-3 at the half. Valdez continued the Bucknell scoring in the third period. Back-to-back fourth quarter scores from Brolley and Bentley gave the Colonials a 6-5 lead at that point. Then Co-Player of the Game Krystle Morgan went to work. With 2:55 to go, Morgan go the equalizer goal. Then, with 42 seconds left got the Bisons' game winning goal. The other Player of the Game, Bucknell goalie Rena Heim, stopped 11 shots.

5th Place: Brown Bears 18, Harvard Crimson 9
Harvard initially led 1-0 on Shayna Price's goal with 5:28 left in the first period. That lead lasted exactly 63 seconds. Claudia Ruiz and Kate Woods scored to make it 2-1, Brown. The Bears never relinquished the lead after that. Woods got a second, man-up goal to bring it to 3-1. Yoshi Andersen answered and the score was 3-2 at the end of the first period. The two teams traded goals in the second period, until Woods and Madison Pepper added goals one minute apart toward the end of the period. Victoria Prager scored once for the Crimson, but Emily McNamara and Ariel Dukes closed out the period with scores; the tally was 9-5 at the half.

The Bears enjoyed a 5-2 scoring advantage in the third period and four straight goals in the fourth quarter. Harvard players scored twice in both periods. Kate Woods had five goals overall for the Bears. kathanne Booher had four, Emily McNamara three, with Madison Pepper and Sarah Presant two apiece. Shayna Price led the Crimson with four goals; Victoria Prager added two.

3rd Place: Indiana Hoosiers 14, Hartwick Hawks 9
Indiana never trailed, thanks to Candyce Schroeder's man-up goal 59 seconds into the match. Jakie Kohli got the second Hoosier goal with 6:39 left. The Hawks' Allison Kosich made it a one-goal deficit, answered by Sahe Fournier's penalty shot. Goals were traded bwetween Hartwick's Kamila Zakirova, Indiana's Rebecca Gerrety and Hartwick's Sami Capparelli to bring the first period to a close at 4-3.

Schroeder struck first in the second period, but Zakirova countered four minutes later. Fournier scored two more goals to increase Indiana's lead to 7-4 at the half. Back-to-back goals by Gerrity for her hat trick, plus Shelby Taylor's score at 3:38, gave the Hoosiers a commanding 10-4 lead. Hartwick never got back to within four goals of Indiana. Each team scored three goals in the final period for a 14-9 final score.

Championship Game: Princeton Tigers 7, Michigan Wolverines 5
The Princeton Tigers continued their championship streak this year, as they also won the CWPA Southern Division regular season and postseason titles.

Bryce Beckwith began the scoring, giving Michigan a 1-0 lead at 5:38. Ali Thomason padded the lead to 2-0. Jesse Holechuk got the Tigers scoring going, then Camille Hooks tied it up at two apiece. Presley Pender put the Wolverines back up to 3-2. That would be the last lead of the season for Michigan. Taylor Dunstan tied it up at 1:05 to close the first period. Katie Rigler and Saranna Soroka gave Princeton a 5-3 halftime advantage.

Hooks added her second goal at 6:40 in the third for the only score by either squad. Michigan's Pender scored two goals in the fourth period to make it 6-5 with 43 seconds to go. Dunstan claimed the final goal of the game and the 7-5 victory for the Tigers.

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Poughkeepsie, New York
Iona goalie Marisa Gaynor was named Most Outstanding Performer of the MAAC Tournament. She guided the second-seeded Iona Gaels to a 12-10 victory over the top-seeded Wagner Seahawks, 12-10. They successfully defended their title and earned the automatic MAAC bid to the NCAA Championships.

Iona's Erika Lauritis scored three goals. Amy Olson (MAAC Offfensive Player of the Year), Sarah Harley and Katie Stelnicki earned two goals apiece. The Seahawks' Lily Doerfler led all scorers with four goals. jessica Burdge scored three and Michelle Greenough earned two.

The host Marist Red Foxes came in third with their 12-9 victory over the Villanova Wildcats. Jessica Hanby led Marist with a hat trick; Hannah Levien, Shelby Rinker and Anna-Lena Hathaway contributed two goals each. Shanna Shibata's four goals led the Wildcats; Julia Penkal and Naomi Ng added two.

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, Berkeley, California
The USC Trojans got revenge over the Stanford Cardinal in the championship game and gained their first MPSF title since 2009. USC also received an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

5th Place: California Golden Bears 12, San Jose State Spartans 8
Emily Csikos closed out her NCAA water polo career with one goal, giving her a total of 215, becoming the Golden Bears' all-time leading scorer. Teammate Brenda Vosters finished with 157 career goals, good for sixth on the Cal all-time list.

Dana Ochsner and the Spartans' Victoria Smith exchanged early goals to begin the scoring. The Bears then scored three goals by Ochsner, Victoria Williams and Michelle Caron to make it 4-1, Cal, at the end of the first period. Three goals were scored by each team in the second quarter to make the score 7-4 at halftime. Bianca Seyfert scored early in the third quarter to cut the Cal lead to 7-5. The Bears scored five of the next six goals to put the game away.

Brenda Vosters and Remington Price scored two goals for the Golden Bears, and Anna Natalizio contributed two to the Spartans' cause. Savanna Smith saved nine shots for Cal; Maddie Reardon saved six for San Jose State.

3rd Place: UCLA Bruins 10, Arizona State Sun Devils 7
Ao Gao put Arizona State on the board first at 6:56 of the first period. Less than a minute later, Gisselle Naranjo tied it up with a power play goal. Alicia Brightwell put the Sun Devils up 2-1 on a penalty shot. Emily Donohoe tied it at 1:58 to even up the score 2-2. Alys Williams' goal at 6:30 of the second quarter was the first of four straight Bruin goals, with India Forster, Kodi HIll and Danielle Ferraro adding goals. Shannon Haas closed the deficit to 6-3 at the half.

Rachel Fattal put UCLA up 7-3 with 4:55 gone in the third period. Gae earned a hat trick with back-to-back goals. Becca Dorst gave the Bruins their eighth goal on a 6-5 shot. Brightwell answered with a goal to make it 8-6 at the end of the third period. Dorst opened up the scoring in the fourth period at the 7:22 mark. Fattal got her second goal 1:21 later. Brightwell ended the scoring, giving the Sun Devils their seventh goal at 1:56.

Championship: USC Trojans 11, Stanford Cardinal 7
With five unanswered goals in the first period, USC got revenge over the Stanford Cardinal, the only squad to defeat the Trojans this season. USC earned its third MPSF title (the first since 2009) and secured an automatic slot at the NCAA Championships.

The first period began with a 5-0 onslaught with the Trojans getting two goals each from Monica Vavic and Hannah Buckling and a single shot from Kelly Mendoza. Stanford's first goal came from Melissa Seidemann, who was awarded a penalty shot and wound up the period with a power play. Annie Espar and Vavic scored in the second quarter to enable USC to take a 7-3 lead into halftime.

USC began the second quarter with three strikes from Madeline Rosenthal, Espar and Hannah Buckley. With 4:46 in the third, USC was up 10-3. The Cardinal put together a three-goal streak of their own, but defensive work by the Trojan defense–plus Buckling's fourth goal–put an end to the Cardinal hopes. Stanford did get one last goal at 4:35.

USC's Buckling had a four-goal game, with Vavic contributing three and Espar two. Melissa Seidemann had a hat trick for Stanford and Maggie Steffens added two.

Western Water Polo Association, Santa Clara, California
UC San Diego earned a 10-8 victory over Loyola Marymount to claim the WWPA conference title and a spot in the NCAA Championships. The Tritons' Melissa Bartow was selected the tournament MVP.

7th Place: Cal State East Bay Pioneers 11, Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes 7
The Pioneers jumped out to a 3-0 lead on two goals by Julia Charlesworth plus one from Jennifer Lightbody. Mary Jane Cooney and Katie Braun scored for the Coyotes. Claire Pierce scored twice in the final 2:00, including one with 40 seconds left in the period, to bring the score to 5-2 after the first. East Bay extended the lead to 8-3 with Pierce's hat trick goal plus scores from Allison Zell and Kate McAfee. Shelby McCliman gave San Bernardino its only goal of the period at 3:12.

The Coyotes scored one in the third quarter, with Pioneers Lightbody and Nicole Meyer getting goals to make it 10-4 after the third period. Hollie Mickelson began the scoring in the fourth period to give East Bay its final goal of the game. The Coyotes made a comeback, with three goals in the last 3:18 from Crystal Curran, Cooney and Misty Vu.

5th Place: Cal State Monterey Bay Otters 10, Sonoma State Seawolves 7
The Otters scored one in the first period and three more in the second to give Monterey Bay a 4-0 halftime advantage. Both teams scored three times in the third period to bring the score to 7-3.

3rd Place: Santa Clara Broncos 12, Colorado State Rams 7
Colorado State jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Jamie Stone's goal at 7:03. Julia Peters tied it up at 4:48, and Ariel Arcidiacono put the Broncos ahead at 2-1. Ellie Surber tied it up at 8 seconds left. Peters began the scoring with her second goal at 7:38, then Kelsey Carrigan tied it up at 4:59. Santa Clara then went on a three-goal scoring streak to bring the scor to 6-3 at 6:27 of the third period.

Shelby Schaefer's goal at 6:14 stopped the streak. Norris and Murphy then countered for Santa Clara, and Megan Richardson closed out the third period scoring with 8 seconds left to bring the score to 8-5. Arcidiacono made it a two-goal game in the first minute of the fourth period, then Santa Clara went on a four-game scoring run with Peters, two by Claire Eadington and one by Jamie Swartz. Alex Daley scored with 56 seconds left to make the final score 12-7.

This game marked the end of women's water polo at Colorado State, as the program was discontinued by the university in January.

Championship: UC San Diego Tritons 10, Loyola Marymount Lions 8
A strong first half gave UC San Diego a 10-8 victory over the Loyola Marymount Lions. It was the Tritons' second conference crown, the first coming in 2011.

Tied 2-2 during the opening half, tournament MVP Melissa Bartow turned in a hat trick which led the Tritons to an 8-5 halftime lead. Defense took over in the third period, with Jessica Morales scoring for LMU and Alexis Wieseler getting a goal for UCSD. Barlow netted her fifth goal at 5:13 of the fourth period. The Lions' Mackenzie Beck and Alexandra Honny earned goals toward the end of the match, but couldn't get any closer.

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