After earning a convincing 11-4 win over Marist to open the Bison Invite at Bucknell, the eighth-ranked Princeton women’s water polo team needed a fourth quarter rally to defeat No. 13 UC San Diego, 9-8, to go undefeated Saturday and improve to 5-0 on the season.
Princeton will close out the tournament Sunday with host Bucknell at 10:30 a.m. and No. 20 Michigan at 2:15 p.m.
Jessie Holechek led the offense with five goals, followed by Ashley Hatcher, Hannah Lapkin and Molly McBee’s four apiece. Morgan Hallock had a team-high three assists, while Camille Hooks and Ashleigh Johnson each made three steals each over the two-game outing.
In the cage Johnson finished with 19 saves over six quarters of work and added a pair of assists in her effort.
Princeton opened the tournament with Marist and jumped quickly to a 4-1 lead and made it 8-1 by halftime. From there the Tigers controlled the contest, despite both sides scoring three times each over the second half.
Freshman Lapkin led the charge with all four of her goals, followed by three-goal performances by Holechek and Kimi Klein. Klein also added an assist and a steal, as freshman Sydney Saxe had two goals, an assist and a steal.
Both Johnson and CeCe Coffey saw minutes in goal, with Coffey tallying four saves over the second half.
Game two proved to be the biggest battle for the Tigers over their young season, but one they could handle. Just like in their last meeting, a thrilling overtime win over UCSD in the fifth-place game at the 2013 NCAA Championship, the Tigers kept people on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.
The Tritons held the early advantage, 2-1, but Princeton countered and went into halftime knotted 3-3.
Putting relentless pressure on the Tigers, UC San Diego managed to hold a one-goal edge, 7-6, entering the fourth quarter.
Goals by Hatcher and Holechek made it an 8-8 game and with less than three minutes to play McBee sliced in the game-winner to cap off her four-goal effort.
Johnson finished with 14 saves, two steals and an assist, while Hooks had two steals and an assist.
No. 8 Princeton: 4 – 4 – 3 – 0 – 11
Marist: 1 – 0 – 0 – 3 – 4
Goals: Hatcher 2, Rigler 2, Hallock 1, Lapkin 4, Klein 3, Holechek 3, Saxe 2
Assists: Hatcher 2, McBee 1, Rigler 1, Hallock 3, Temple 1, Klein 1, Saxe 1, Gross 1
Steals: Hooks 1, McBee 1, Dunstan 1, Temple 1, Lapkin 1, Klein 1, Saxe 1, Johnson 1
Saves: Johnson (16:00) 5, Coffey (16:00) 4
No. 8 Princeton: 1 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 9
No. 13 UC San Diego: 2 – 1 – 4 – 1 – 8
Goals: Hatcher 2, McBee 4, Dunstan 1, Holechek 2
Assists: Hooks 1, Dunstan 1, Holechek 1, Johnson 1
Steals: Murphy 1, Hooks 2, Dunstan 1, Johnson 2
Saves: Johnson 14