Women’s water polo captures ECAC title

By
Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The women’s water polo team beat Marist 10-8 in overtime this weekend to win the ECAC Tournament Championship title.

Brown’s offense was led by Sarah Glick ’10, Rory Stanton ’09 and Lauren Presant ’10, while goalie Stephanie Laing ’10 anchored the defense. Laing was voted the tournament’s Outstanding Player.

Brown took on the tournament’s No. 1 seed Marist in an exciting battle on Sunday to win the championship. Marist burst out of the gate with a goal 11 seconds into the game, but the Bears weren’t intimidated. Brown responded by answering quickly after each of Marist’s three goals in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Bethany Kwoka ’12 added a goal early on to give Brown its first lead. Brown got into foul trouble, and Marist earned two man-up possessions but was unable to convert them into goals. Brown held the lead at halftime, 5-3.

Marist fought back and scored a goal late in the third quarter. Stanton extended the lead to 6-4 with 1:10 left, but Marist was able to sneak in a goal with 14 seconds left, ending the third quarter down 6-5.

Again, Brown scored right away in the fourth quarter to take a two-goal advantage. With less than five minutes left, Marist scored two quick back-to-back goals to tie the game. They went on to score one more goal and gain the lead.

“Our team is so small and we only have two subs off the bench, so most of us tend to get tired towards the end of game, especially after a long weekend,” Glick said. “Also, the pool is shallow-deep, which means the goalie can stand up, so when you are at the shallow end, you are at an advantage, and they had that second half. Not that this is an excuse for catching up, but they did have a slight advantage.”

Brown had its last chance to tie it up on a 6-on-5 possession, and Glick scored on this last play to force overtime.

“I thought it was my fault that they scored the goal, so I thought it was my duty to score the goal back and bring us to overtime,” she said.

In overtime, Kwoka scored Brown’s first goal, and Presant added the second goal with 32 seconds left. Brown won the ECAC Championship game, 10-8.

“I think we overcame a lot of things to win our first ECAC title,” Head Coach Felix Mercado wrote in an e-mail to the Herald. “Their performance was relentless and defensively, we play great.”

The Bears’ run to the tournament title began on Saturday with a game against Siena College, an 8-6 win for Brown. Stanton led the team with three goals, while Presant had two. Kwoka, Rita Bullwinkel ’11 and Herald Metro Editor Joanna Wohlmuth ’11, each had one goal. The Bears were up 6-3 at halftime and continued to control the game with help of the defense and Laing, who registered five saves.

Brown’s defense also dominated in their second match against Wagner, allowing only 12 shots. Wagner opened up a first quarter lead, but the Bears roared back to end the half with a 6-3 lead. The second half was a back-and-forth battle, with both teams producing two goals in the third quarter and one in the fourth. Brown ended on top, 9-6, and advanced to the championship game.

The Bears will play again this weekend at Marist for the Red Fox Invite.

“We want to keep getting better. While winning the ECAC tournament was a great accomplishment for the team, we know that we still have work to do to achieve our goals for this season,” wrote Mercado. “I would love to make it to the semi-final of the Eastern Championship and see if we can qualify for the NCAAs.”