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Women’s water polo squad takes second at division championship

The Bears crushed the Lakers and Crimson but fell to the No. 12 Tigers at home this weekend

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The women’s water polo squad finished second in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Southern Division Championships, which Brown hosted over the weekend.

The team (15-19, 5-3 CWPA Southern) defeated Mercyhurst University 12-7 and Harvard 16-12 Saturday before losing 12-4 in the championship game against No. 12 Princeton Sunday.

The team will next compete as the fifth seed at the CWPA Eastern Championships at the University of Michigan later this month. If the squad finishes in first place, it will be granted a spot at the NCAA tournament, said Kate Woods ’14.

Madison Pepper ’15 and Woods led the way Saturday, combining for seven goals against Mercyhurst (13-13, 0-5) and eight against Harvard (16-14, 3-3).

Brown narrowly defeated both Mercyhurst and Harvard earlier this season, winning each game by two goals. Woods said defeating Harvard Saturday showed the squad the earlier victory against Harvard was not just a fluke.

“We went into Saturday night thinking, ‘Was that game more luck, or was that because we’re the better team and we deserve to win?’” Woods said. “That’s at least what I was thinking. So … winning that game was just really awesome.”

Head Coach Felix Mercado said the team was anticipating the Harvard matchup.

“We knew, ultimately, it was going to be us and Harvard for the semi-final game,” Mercado said. “And the game did not disappoint.”

Sunday the squad faced Princeton (23-5, 5-0), which had already beaten Brown 15-4 earlier in the season. Though Mercado said the squad would “play and give it everything we have” in the championship game, the Bears ended up falling to the Tigers.

Woods said she did not think the score fully reflected the progress the squad has made this season and that the loss would serve as motivation for the future.

“We’ve come very far as a team,” Woods said. “I don’t think that the score necessarily shows that. Even though we did lose by less (than in the teams’ previous match-up), I think that it doesn’t represent the fact that we’ve been through a lot this season together … It was good that that game happened because it’s pushing us to work hard this next few weeks before (Eastern Championships).”

Mercado said the team is not necessarily expecting to win at the Eastern Championships, adding that the team wants to “finish where (it’s) seeded or higher.”

“We’ve weathered the storm, and we’re in a really good position and we’ll see what happens,” Mercado said.

Woods also said the team can still accomplish goals without winning the tournament.

“We really just want to play well as a team,” Woods said. “It would be so awesome if we won, but I think that we’ll all be able to be pleased with ourselves and happy with the season if, in our final games, we’re just playing well together and having fun, playing the sport that we love.”

Regardless of how the team fares at the Eastern Championships, Woods said she will look back positively on the season.

“I feel like this season has been really great,” Woods said. “We’ve improved so much from where we’ve started. … I’m thankful for that.”

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