With 57 seconds left in double overtime, Southern Player of the Year Katie Rigler scored the game-winning goal to guide the Princeton women’s water polo team to the Eastern Championship title game. Guided by a fourth quarter comeback, No. 11 Princeton defeated No. 17 Hartwick 12-11 in the Eastern semifinals.
“It was a total comeback effort. Each player picked up each other to finish the game off on a solid and winning note. I am very proud of them,” said head coach Luis Nicolao.
The No. 2 seed Tigers now have a date with host and No. 4 seed Michigan in the championship game on Sunday, Apr. 28 at 4:30 p.m.
Hartwick held the lead into the fourth quarter, before Princeton managed to rally back with a 6-2 run over final three periods of play to come out with the victory.
The Hawks opened things up with a 3-0 advantage, capitalizing on a sluggish Tiger offense, and a held 7-4 lead by halftime.
With its postseason on the line, a rejuvenated Princeton side countered back in the second half. After trailing for over three quarters, Jessie Holechek and Brittany Zwirner scored consecutive goals with 3:14 to play in regulation to force overtime.
Following a scoreless first overtime period, goals from Holechek and Rigler were enough to edge Princeton past Hartwick.
Rigler finished with a team-best four goals, while Holechek and Diana Murphy each notched a pair.
Freshman Ashleigh Johnson made 10 saves and three steals between the posts in her first career overtime match.
No. 2 Seed Princeton: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 0 – 2 – 12
No. 3 Seed Hartwick: 3 – 4 – 2 – 1 – 0 – 1 – 11
Goals: Soroka 1, Hooks 1, Rigler 4, Zwirner 1, Holechek 2, Gross 1, Murphy 2
Assists: McBee 1, Rigler 1, Gross 3
Steals: Hooks 2, McBee 1, Dunstan 1, Rigler 3, Zwirner 2, Holechek 1, Gross 2, Johnson 3
Saves: Johnson 10