The No. 13 Princeton women's water polo team defeated No. 14 Maryland, 6-5, to win its second-ever CWPA Eastern Championship Sunday in Providence, R.I. With the win, the Tigers advance to the NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships for the first time in program history.
"I am so proud of our team effort. They did an amazing job on the defensive end and it was (just) a great team effort," said head coach Luis Nicolao. "I also would like to congratulate Maryland on a great season. Their coaches Carl and Serela did a great job with their team this year."
The Terps jumped out early with a 2- 1 lead in the first quarter, but a composed Tiger team evened the score 3-3 heading into halftime. Both sides found the back of the net once in the third quarter, before Princeton put together another late rally to edge past its opponent.
As the its first berth into the NCAA Championships lay on the line, Princeton's Taylor Dunstan and Brittany Zwirner gave the Tigers a two-goal lead, 6-4, to open the fourth period off counterattacks. UM worked to claw its way back, making it a one-goal game, but its rally fell short as the Princeton defense maintained a strong backline to preserve the win.
Sophomore Katie Rigler had a pair of goals in both halves and was named MVP of the CWPA Eastern Championship and to the all-tournament first team.
Jessie Holechek and Saranna Soroka each found net once, and Dunstan and Molly McBee had a pair of steals apiece in the game.
In goal, Kristen Ward tallied 13 saves and a pair of assists, while earning a place on the all-tournament second team. Freshman Camille Hooks rounded out Princeton's honorees, taking home all-tournament first team accolades.
Princeton had not won the Eastern Championship since 2000 and will head to San Diego, Calif. to participate in the eight-team NCAA Championships from May 11-13 at San Diego State's Aztec Aquaplex.Princeton: 1 - 2 - 1 - 2
Maryland: 2 - 1 - 1 - 1
Goals: Dunstan 1, Holechek 1, Rigler 2, Soroka 1, Zwirner 1
Assists: Dunstan 1, McBee 1
Steals: Dunstan 2, McBee 2, Soroka 1, Zak 1, Zwirner 1
Saves: Ward 13