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NCAA Berth On the Line for No. 13 Women's Water Polo at Easterns

By: Princeton Athletic Communications
          Release: 04/25/2012
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Molly McBee and the Tigers are vying for their first bid into the NCAA Water Polo Championship.
Courtesy: Beverly Schaefer

The No. 13 Princeton women's water polo team will compete for its first-ever bid into the NCAA Water Polo Championship this weekend at the CWPA Eastern Championship. The Tigers head to Easterns as the No. 2 seed, following their Southern Division Championship. The tournament will run from April 27-29 at Brown in Providence, R.I.

As one of the top seeded teams at Easterns, Princeton earned first round bye and will open the weekend with the winner of No. 7 seed Harvard - No. 10 seed Mercyhurst matchup at 7:40 p.m. on Friday.

For full CWPA Eastern Championship schedule, please click here.

Friday, April 27, 2012                                         

Game 1 - 9:00 a.m.    No. 8 Bucknell vs. No. 9 George Washington               

Game 2 - 10:20 a.m.  No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 13 Salem International 

Game 3 - 11:40 a.m.  No. 5 Hartwick vs. No. 12 Notre Dame College             

Game 4 - 1:00 p.m.    No. 6 Brown vs. No. 11 Gannon      

Game 5 - 2:20 p.m.    No. 7 Harvard vs. No. 10 Mercyhurst          

Game 6 - 3:40 p.m.    No. 1 Michigan vs. Winner Game 1                

Game 7 - 5:00 p.m.    Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3                                               

Game 8 - 6:20 p.m.    No. 3 Indiana vs. Winner Game 4                                   
Game 9 - 7:40 p.m.  No. 2 Princeton vs. Winner Game 5  

Southern Champs!: The Tigers (24-5, 5-0 Southern) won their seventh CWPA Southern Division Championship in program history and first since 2007 on April 15. Princeton, the top seed in the tournament, defeated George Washington, 11-8, and Bucknell, 14-6, to advance to the championship game. In a gritty close battle versus Brown in the title match, junior Brittany Zwirner scored the game-winner with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Princeton past the Bears, 9-8.

Eastern Championship History: Princeton is looking to win its second Eastern Championship in program history and first since 2000. The NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship was established in 2001, thus the Tigers are vying for their first berth into the NCAAs.

About the Field: The 13-team Eastern field is made up of the six Southern Division and seven Western Division teams. Western Division winner Michigan and Indiana are the No. 1 and 3 seeds, respectively. The top three seeds each have first round byes at Easterns. 

Princeton vs. Eastern Field: The Tigers are 7-1 versus teams in this weekend's Eastern Championship. Princeton's lone blemish came at Maryland on Mar. 31, resulting in a 7-6 loss for the Tigers.

Princeton has not faced Michigan, Indiana, Notre Dame or Salem International this year.

NCAA Water Polo Championship: Eight teams will advance to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships from May 11-13. The tournament will be hosted at San Diego State's Aztec Aquaplex in San Diego, Calif.

Scouting No. 7 Seed Harvard: Princeton went 2-0 this season versus the Crimson (15-10). The Tigers opened the year with a 9-6 win on Feb. 11 over Harvard at home and edged the Crimson, 9-8, on Mar. 3 in Cambridge, Mass.

Seventh-seeded Harvard defeated Bucknell 15-7 to earn a third place finish at Easterns. On the year, Aisha Price leads the Crimson offense with 59 goals and Devan Kennifer has a team-best 41 assists. Kennifer also leads the team in steals with 88. In the cage, freshman goalie Ariel Dukes has 167 saves on the year.

Scouting No. 10 Seed Mercyhurst: Mercyhurst (11-17) concluded the Southern Championships with a sixth place finish after losing to George Washington 12-4. The Tigers were undefeated versus the Lakers this year, dropping Mercyhurst 10-2 on Feb. 11 at home and handing them a 9-5 loss at the Harvard Invite on Mar. 3.

Lisett Calderon headlines the 10th-seeded Laker offense with 56 goals in 25 games played. Allie Grimes has dished a team-high 23 assists and Kimmy Goodhart tallied a season-high 44 steals. Goalie Hope Rozell has played all 28 games between the pipes, tallying 306 saves and 238 goals against.

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