Next stop, NCAAs.
For the first time in program history the Princeton women’s water polo team can call itself consecutive Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern champions. The 11th-ranked Tigers defeated 18th-ranked Michigan in the title game, 7-5, to earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship.
Junior Katie Rigler was named tournament MPV and goalie Ashleigh Johnson was voted Rookie of the Tournament, along with earning Eastern All-Tournament First Team honors. Sophomore Camille Hooks was named to the second team.
Michigan managed to corral a 2-0 lead over the first 4:19, but a 3-1 rally by the Tigers squared things up by the end of the first quarter. With momentum budding for the Orange and Black, the Tigers took control in the second off goals from Rigler and Saranna Soroka to create a two-goal cushion, 5-3, by halftime.
Johnson tallied shutout quarters in the second and third, finishing with a 15-save, two-steal performance.
As Johnson and the defense limited the Wolverine offense in the middle quarters, Princeton looked to close things out with some insurance goals.
Hooks scored the Tigers’ lone goal in the third to put them up 6-3, leaving a fourth quarter Michigan comeback plausible.
UM netted a pair, but All-Southern Taylor Dunstan sliced one in with 18 second left in regulation to punctuate the victory.
Hooks and Dunstan each led the Tigers with two goals.
Princeton won its third Eastern title in program history Sunday and is now making its second trip ever to the NCAA Championship. The tournament will run from May 10-12 and will be hosted at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. The Tigers will find out their seeding at the NCAA Selection Show live on Monday, Apr. 29 at 8 p.m. ET.
No. 2 Seed Princeton: 3 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 7
No. 4 Seed Michigan: 3 – 0 – 0 – 2 – 5
Goals: Soroka 1, Hooks 2, Dunstan 2, Rigler 1, Holechek 1
Assists: Hatcher 1, Dunstan 1, Zwirner 1
Steals: Soroka 1, Hatcher 1, Hooks 1, Martinez 1, Gross 1, Johnson 2
Saves: Johnson 15