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No. 10 Women's Water Polo Concludes NCAAs with 15-11 Loss to LMU

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 05/13/2012
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Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications
Senior Audrey Zak versus LMU at the NCAA Championship fifth-place game.
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NCAA Championship Day 3 Press Conference

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.

"Obviously (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 -- 11
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
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