Women's water polo swims to fifth at club nationals

by Kelly Cameron | 5/16/02 5:00am

The women's club water polo team traveled down to Emory University in Atlanta to showcase its talent at the National Club Championship Tournament. The Big Green finished fifth place overall, improving on their ninth-place finish last year.

After flight cancellations, a 4 a.m. start to the trip and plane delays due to weather, the team arrived in Atlanta just in time for its first game against the Southeast Division Champions and second-seeded University of Florida.

The Big Green got off to a slow start against the Gators following a 15-minute warm-up. Six ejections, coupled with many missed scoring opportunities, put the team behind 2-5 at the end of the first half.

With a season full of conditioning under its belt, the Big Green was ready to make its move on the tiring Gators as the game moved into the second half. Two goals in the first two minutes of the third quarter, by Lindsay Richardson '02 and Samantha Klau '05, indicated that the intensity was moving up a notch. With one minute left in the fourth quarter, trailing by one goal, the Big Green called a timeout.

The team was successful in tying the game up at 7-7 with 35 seconds to go, though the Gators had possession of the ball. A scramble for the ball in the hole between a Gator and two members of the Big Green ended up yielding a penalty shot for the University of Florida with 17 seconds left. Florida's Tracee Worel scored her fourth goal of the game with the four-meter shot and secured a victory for the Gators.

To start off the second day of the tournament, the Big Green faced Big Ten runner-up Purdue University. After a three-goal lead at the end of the first quarter, there was no looking back for Dartmouth.

Michelle Steed '00 was in her element as she lofted four lob-shots into the goal over the course of the game.

Similarly, senior Kristi Esmiol took advantage of two ejections on the white team by scoring both times with no-look shots on the goal.

The mean Green defense was able to hold off the Purdue attack by nearly shutting down former Illinois State High School MVP Hilarie Rajkowski.

After capitalizing on three out of four man-up opportunities, the Big Green posted a significant victory over the Boilermakers with a final score of 8-1. Later that afternoon, Dartmouth posted an 8-4 victory over New York University.

On the last day of the tournament, Dartmouth faced off against the University of Utah. Perseverance and honed skills in the hole allowed Klau to put two into the net in the first half of the game. In the second half, Kelly Cameron '04 scored one of her three goals from two meters away, surprising the goalie with a sweep-shot lob.

Also in the third quarter, goalie Gillian Morshedi '04 summed up her spectacular play over the weekend by blocking a four-meter penalty shot by the Utes. Lindsay Pryor '05 put one in the back of the net from the outside to round out the scoring for the Big Green in the fourth quarter and secure another win by the final score of 7-5.

Freshman scoring machine Samantha Klau earned Second Team All-Nationals Honors at the tournament as a follow-up to her New England Division Player of the Year and First Team All-New England Honors.

Other players who received New England Division honors include sophomores Cameron and Gillian Morshedi on the First Team and Lauren Wondolowski '04 on the Second Team.

Kelly Cameron is a sophomore member of the Dartmouth women's club water polo team.