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W. water polo wins five straight before being sunk by Tritons, Anteaters

The women's water polo team made a strong stand in California over spring break, winning five of eight games over six days, including posting a 3-1 record at the Aztec Tournament in San Diego. Brown also upset No. 15 Long Beach State University. The road trip left Brown at 14-7 heading into the home stretch of the regular season.

On March 24, the team began the Aztec tournament, facing host San Diego State University, ranked No. 4 nationally. The Aztecs dominated the game throughout, building a 7-2 lead in the first half and holding the Bears scoreless in the final 15:34 of the game. Despite two goals and three steals from Elizabeth Balassone '07, Bruno fell to San Diego State, 12-3.

But Brown rebounded in its second game of the day, playing stellar defense and executing on offense en route to a 10-4 victory over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Once again, Balassone led the Bears with four goals, and Lauren Presant '10 added three goals and two steals.

The following day, Bruno notched two more wins in a pair of tight games against Pomona-Pitzer and California State University, Bakersfield. After allowing Pomona-Pitzer to take a 3-0 advantage in the first quarter, the Bears stormed back. Alexis Blaxberg '08, who finished with two goals, put Brown on the scoreboard with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter. Brown rallied to tie the game at 5-5 at the end of the third quarter, behind two goals from Sarah Glick '10, as well as one goal apiece from Balassone and Paige Lansing '07. The Sagehens went ahead 6-5 in the fourth quarter, but Presant's clutch goal with 15 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, where the Bears completed their comeback, outscoring Pomona-Pitzer 2-1 to earn an 8-7 victory.

After falling behind early against Cal State Bakersfield, Bruno scored three unanswered goals to gain a 3-1 advantage in the first period and never looked back on its way to its third consecutive win, 9-7. Early in the fourth quarter, Balassone's second goal of the game put the Bears ahead 8-5, but the Roadrunners answered with two goals to cut Brown's lead to one. However, the Bears held off the Roadrunners' surge, and a goal from Ally Wyatt '08 with 45 seconds remaining sealed the victory for Brown. Wyatt and Balassone scored two goals each. Presant led the team with three goals.

On March 27, Brown had a rematch with the California Baptist University team that handed the Bears a disappointing 6-5 defeat just over a week earlier at the Wolverine Invitational. The Lancers looked poised to upset the Bears for a second time when they jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter, but Blaxberg scored with 2:33 left in the period to cut the lead to 2-1.

Despite a goal from Glick and two goals from Balassone in the second quarter, Bruno trailed 5-4 at halftime. After Cal Baptist increased its lead to 6-4 in the third, Balassone found the net for the third time to make it 6-5, and Claire Angyal '07 tied the game at 6-6 as time expired in the third quarter. In the final period, Brown finally took control of the game, cruising to a 9-7 victory behind goals from Lansing, Presant, and Wyatt, who finished with a team-high four assists.

Against No. 15 Long Beach State, the Bears started strong, building a 6-2 halftime lead with goals from six different players. With 4:08 remaining in the third period, Glick scored to give Brown a 7-2 lead, and the game appeared well under control.

But Brown could not shake the pesky 49ers. Long Beach State dominated the fourth quarter and scored four unanswered goals to tie the game at 8-8 with 3:23 remaining. But with 1:39 left, Lansing struck again for her third goal of the game to secure the 9-8 victory for Bruno.

The next day, the Bears let an early lead slip away against No. 6 University of California, Irvine, despite another hat trick from Lansing. Though Brown led 4-2 at the end of the first quarter, Irvine scored three early goals in the second period to take a 5-4 lead. After Lansing tied the game at 5-5, the Bears were outscored 7-1 the rest of the game, and Irvine came away with a 12-6 win.

"We came out strong, and we had some opportunities to score in the second and third quarters where we weren't able to score, and they capitalized on our mistakes," said Head Coach Jason Gall. "It all has to do with experience. They're No. 6, and I think we know that we can play with that caliber of team, but we need more games like that under our belt."

On March 29, Brown closed out its eight-game swing at No. 15 University of California, San Diego. Two goals and two steals from Caitlin Fahey '07 were not enough to overcome an initial 6-0 deficit. The Bears were held scoreless until Fahey's goal 45 seconds into the third quarter cut the deficit to 6-1. After the Tritons took a 7-1 lead with 4:43 left in the third, Angyal and Lansing scored to make the score 7-3 heading into the final period. With 5:20 remaining in the game, Fahey scored her second goal to cut UCSD's lead to 7-4. Unfortunately, the Bears could not mount any further offensive attack, and another Triton goal made the final score 8-4.

On Saturday, Brown will face No. 13 Hartwick College, which defeated the Bears 13-7 in their last meeting. The following week, the team will round out its regular season play.

"We know we can win the rest of our games," Gall said. "And then we'll start preparing for (the Northern Division Championship). We have a legitimate chance to win Northerns, which would give us a great feed going into the Eastern championship."

With wins over nationally-ranked teams such as Long Beach State and the University of Michigan under its belt, the team looks poised for a solid finish to the regular season and a strong postseason as well.


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