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Women’s water polo splits Sunday slate

Bears defeat Bucknell in first game but fall to Princeton in second

<p>Strong offensive performances by Zoe King ’23 and Claire Poissonnier ’25 propelled the team to its win against Bucknell this past weekend.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics via David Silverman</p>

Strong offensive performances by Zoe King ’23 and Claire Poissonnier ’25 propelled the team to its win against Bucknell this past weekend.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics via David Silverman

The No. 22 women’s water polo team (23-12, 7-4 Collegiate Water Polo Association) split its Sunday slate, defeating Bucknell University (9-15, 3-9 CWPA) before suffering a loss to No. 21 Princeton (19-9, 8-4 CWPA) at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center.

The Bears were able to outpace the Bison to an 8-6 result led by strong offensive performances from Zoe King ’23 and Claire Poissonnier ’25. Goalkeeper Marley Presiado ’22 recorded eight saves on the defensive end.

With the game tied at 6-6 deep in the fourth quarter, Bryn Gioffredi ’23 and Claire Pisani ’23 delivered key goals to secure the victory for Bruno.

In the day’s second contest, Brown was able to keep pace with Princeton for much of the game, but struggled to score consistently and was not able to secure a lead.

“We really want to work on offense going forward — really putting our shots away and playing as a cohesive unit to get the ball around into the set,” said Katie Klein ’22.

Brown got off to an uneven start, with multiple shots clanging off the post, resulting in an early 2-0 deficit for Bruno. King continued her standout day with a perfectly placed goal off of the framework of the cage, her first of four scores against Princeton.

Down 3-1 at the start of the second quarter, the Bears finished the first half strong. Two sets of consecutive goals from Lily Weiser ’23 and King were rivaled by two Princeton goals to knot the game at 5-5 by halftime. The Bears’ offensive explosion, in addition to a missed Princeton penalty shot, signaled a possible boost in momentum for Brown heading into the second half.

The third quarter proved to be unkind to Bruno. Princeton’s Jovana Sekulic scored just over a minute into the period, giving her team a lead that was never relinquished. The Tigers scored three more unanswered goals to finish the quarter.

Still, Brown showed resilience after struggling in the third period. With 5:24 left in the game, King scored to snap the team’s drought. The goal was her fourth in the game and seventh of the day. The Bears also stepped up defensively, allowing only one goal in the final quarter.

“We like to say we’re a fourth-quarter team,” Dagmara Czajka ’22 said. “We always just bring the energy, come back and finish the game.”

Princeton was able to control the game by making the most of its 6v5 situations set up by penalties. The Tigers were able to score three goals in their five power plays, compared to Brown’s one goal in seven identical situations.

The Tigers have historically been a difficult opponent for the Bears; Sunday’s game represented Brown’s 19th consecutive loss in the matchup dating back to 2010.

“I think playing them a few times now, we kind of know what they’re capable of,” Czajka said. “From the last time we played them to today, our scores have been getting better, keeping them down at lower and lower goals. We’ve just got to bring it” for the CWPA Championships, she added.

Presiado said that Princeton has an uncommon style that requires a different approach. “They play a different, sneakier type of water polo, and we need to adjust to that,” she said.

“We struggled offensively today and you can't expect to win against quality opponents when you do that," said Head Coach Felix Mercado in a statement to Brown Athletics. "We were fortunate to get the split but we have to get better.”

Brown will host Connecticut College and Harvard on April 16 before heading to Lewiston, Pa. for the CWPA Championships from April 22 to 24.

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