Women's water polo earns third place at Nationals
The Dartmouth women's water polo team competed in the National Collegiate Club Water Polo Championships at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wis. over the weekend and brought home third place after a series of exciting games.
This was the Big Green's fourth appearance at Nationals, previously placing 12th, ninth and fifth leading up to this year's showing. Samantha Klau '05 was also elected to the all-tournament first team by the participating coaches.
The Big Green went into the tournament after a capturing the New England Championship with a win over Yale. Several Dartmouth players received All-New England honors.
Klau was recognized as the New England Player of the Year for the second consecutive year. Kelly Cameron '04 and goalie Gillian Morshedi '04 were elected with first team honors for the third consecutive year.
Kristin Simunovich '06 and Lauren Wondolowski '04 were selected for the second team All-New England. The other league coaches voted Jim Wilson to be the New England Coach of the Year.
Dartmouth started off the tournament on Friday with one of the most exciting and closest games of the weekend against fourth-seeded Miami of Ohio University. Penalty shots were the name of the game, and the Red Hawks led off the scoring with a four-meter shot early in the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Big Green was unable to capitalize on three man-up opportunities, leaving the Red Hawks up 1-0 going into the second half.
Dartmouth tied it up in the third quarter when Klau drew a four-meter call and converted to put the Green on the scoreboard. Miami of Ohio pulled into the lead again with a goal off of a fast break with one minute to go in the third. Dartmouth tied up the game 20 seconds later with another four-meter penalty shot taken by Klau.
Neither team was able to pull ahead by the end of the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime. The Big Green had to face the Red Hawks one starter short because Simunovich had accumulated three ejections in the fourth quarter and was kicked out of the remainder of the game. After two three-minute periods the game appeared to reach stagnation.
Tournament rules dictate that if a game remains tied after the first round of overtime, then the game continues as rounds of sudden-death overtime. The pressure mounted for the Big Green to step up and score the first goal in order to be in contention for the final four.
Cameron won the first sprint of the sudden death overtime period, which gave first possession of the ball to Dartmouth. The ball was passed around and one shot was taken on goal. The shot rebound back into play and landed in the hand of Klau who stepped out and rose above her defenders to score the winning goal of the game. Klau pulled through for the Green and secured a 3-2 victory over the Red Hawks.
On Saturday the Big Green played the ninth-seeded University of Virginia. The game started off slow with several changes of possession and very little offensive action. Cameron scored the first goal of the game on an unexpected shot from the outside.
During a man-up opportunity, Simunovich swam one into the cage, following up on a rebound, with five seconds to go in the first. The Big Green would go on to capitalize on two of its four man-up opportunities. The Cavaliers matched Dartmouth goal for goal through the second quarter, ending the half with a score of 4-2 in favor of the Big Green.
Dartmouth went on a scoring rampage in the third quarter, tallying five goals and allowing none. Lindsey Pryor '05, Simunovich, Cameron and Klau all scored their second goals of the game, while Cary Slander '06 joined in with a drive-in shot.
The Big Green retained the lead through the fourth quarter, led by goalie Morshedi who blocked 12 out of the 15 shots taken on the goal over the course of the game. Capturing the first two wins of the tournament, Dartmouth secured a place in the final four with an 11-3 win.
In the third game of the tournament Dartmouth faced off against Michigan State University, the defending National Champions. Klau started off the game with a bang from a step-out shot from the hole halfway through the first quarter, putting Dartmouth ahead for the first and only time of the game.
The defense fell apart in the second quarter, allowing the Spartans to have, and capitalize on, four man-up opportunities. The Big Green ended the second quarter with a four-goal deficit to the Spartans, who scored five goals in a single quarter.
In the remaining quarters of the game Dartmouth managed to outscore the Spartans, but could not pull off the win. Each team scored a goal in the third quarter, leaving MSU with a 6-2 advantage heading into the final period.
Simunovich won the sprint in the final quarter and continued on towards the goal where she started the final goal spree. Lindsay Richardson '04 scored halfway through the quarter, bringing the Green within two goals of State. The game ended in a 7-4 loss for Dartmouth.
On Sunday, the final day of the tournament, Dartmouth played the University of Florida Gators for third place. The game started off with a series of turnovers and failed attacks until Dartmouth was handed a man-up opportunity halfway into the quarter. Pryor followed her defender in towards the goal, caught the ball from lefty Wondolowski on the weak side and shot the ball past the Gator goalie.
Florida retaliated with a goal from the hole in the last possession of the quarter. The Big Green began to pull ahead during the second quarter with two goals from Cameron and Klau. In the third quarter the Gators matched the Green goal for goal, both teams taking advantage of the man-up opportunities. Pryor opened up the exciting fourth quarter with another unexpected goal from the outside.
The Green may have thought that it had the game in the bag with a three-goal advantage over Florida, but the Gators were about to try to make a comeback. Three goals within a minute and half brought the score to a tie with two and a half minutes to go in the game. With 55 seconds to go a Florida player was ejected, giving Dartmouth the advantage.
Wondolowski moved in towards the goal from the left again, convincing almost everyone that she would take the final shot. When the goalie had firmly set up on the left hand side expecting the shot, Wondolowski passed across the pool to Klau who hammered it in from the right.
With eight seconds to go in the game, Dartmouth ahead by one, Florida decided to try a move popularized by Stanford. The Florida coach purposefully instructed one of his bench players to enter the pool, placing seven players in the field instead of the regulation six.
The referee called a penalty shot for Dartmouth, as expected by the Gators. The Florida team hoped that the Big Green would miss the four-meter shot or hesitate on the shot, which would give Florida possession of the ball and the opportunity to tie the game.
Klau was elected to take the four-meter, and she scored. The Gators called a timeout and then set up their offense with seven seconds to go in the game. After a couple of passes, an outside lob shot into the corner brought the Gators within one goal of the Green again with only four seconds remaining in the game.
The Florida coach decided to try the Stanford tactic once again. The Lady Gator entered the water, was ejected and Klau converted on a second four-meter penalty shot. The Gators were unable to score in the remaining two seconds of the game, which assured a 9-7 victory and third place for the Big Green.