The 10th ranked Princeton women's water polo team fell
one game short of a 30-win season, concluding the 2012 NCAA Championship with a
15-11 loss to No. 7 Loyola Marymount. The Tigers conclude the tournament with a
sixth-place finish and a 29-6 overall record.
(it was) a tough game. I thought we had some chances to get a lead. We missed
some opportunities on the counter, six on five. LMU played great and I thought
we played really hard but we just didn't have some of the breaks fall our way
today," said head coach Luis Nicolao.
At 7:07 in the first quarter, Katie Rigler capitalized on a
6-on-5 play to open the game with a 1-0 lead. Princeton's advantage was short
lived, as the Lions connected on three consecutive attempts to take a 3-1 lead
at 4:55. The Tigers responded with a two-goal rally of their own, as
Jessie Holechek scored on second chance opportunity and Molly McBee managed to maneuver
past a pair of LMU defenders to even the game 3-3.
Princeton retook the lead in the opening minute of the
second period behind a Camille Hooks shot from 20 feet out. LMU evened things up again at 5:38 off a Laura Lopez goal, but Saranna
Soroka was there less than a minute later to lift Princeton to a one-goal lead
again, 5-4. Despite battling back to take control of the game, the Tigers quickly
saw Loyola Marymount swing the game momentum over the final 4:22 of the
quarter. The Lions went on a 4-1 run to head into halftime up 8-6, with Princeton
seeing its lone goal during that span from Rigler at 1:18.
Nineteen seconds into the second half, LMU's Kimberly
Benedetti, who scored a game-high seven goals, made it a 9-6 game. McBee
responded with her second goal of the game at 7:18, but Benedetti went on to
score two more times in the quarter to preserve the Lions three-goal lead. Both
Taylor Dunstan and Rigler would find the back of the net over the final three
minutes of the quarter, as the Tigers worked to chip away at LMU's 11-9 lead.
Following a Lion goal to open the fourth, Princeton rallied
back with two consecutive strikes to make it a one-goal game, 12-11. At 4:50,
Rigler converted on a 5-meter penalty and Hooks capitalized on an opening a
minute later. Princeton was unable to maintain its momentum over the final
minutes in regulation, while LMU's offense added three more insurance goals to
conclude the game.
Rigler led the offense with four goals, while Kelly Gross
and Rachele Gyorffy each dished a pair of assists. In goal, senior Kristen Ward
made five saves.
Princeton: 3 - 3 - 3 - 2
Loyola Marymount: 3 - 5 - 3 - 4 -- 15
Goals: Katie Rigler 4, Camille Hooks 2, Molly McBee
2, Jessie Holechek, Saranna Soroka, Taylor Dunstan
Assists: Gross 2, Gyorffy 2, McBee 1, Rigler 1, Zwirner 1
Steals: McBee 1, Rigler 2, Soroka 1, Zwirner 2
Saves: Ward 5