Led by Saranna Soroka’s four goals and Ashleigh Johnson’s 15 saves, the sixth-seeded Princeton women’s water polo team cruised to a 12-2 victory over seventh-seeded Iona Saturday in the consolation round at the NCAA Championship.
The 10th-ranked Tigers (27-6) will now face the winner of the No. 5 UC San Diego – No. 8 Pomona-Pitzer matchup in the fifth-place game on Sunday at 1:45 p.m.
“It was great to come back this afternoon after last night’s tough loss,” said head coach Luis Nicolao. “I thought our kids played well and we did a great job defensively ... That is something we always talk about, knowing offense will come. From the get-go we had a good mindset. We were worried about a little let down after last night, but I was just happy to see us come out from the get-go and play great team defense and from there we were able to get some shots ... It is nice to get a [win].”
Soroka was one of four Tigers to put multi-goal performances on display, as Pippa Temple notched a hat trick and Taylor Dunstan and Katie Rigler each scored twice.
Rachele Gyorffy excelled feeding the ball into the center, connecting twice with Soroka, to amass a team-high four of Princeton’s 10 assists. She also had a goal and drew a pair of ejections.
As the offense found its rhythm and fluidity, successfully moving the ball around to capitalize on 12-of-25 shot attempts, the defense consistently rejected Iona shot attempt after attempt.
Along with Johnson’s 15 stops, she made four of the Tigers’ 14 steals en route to her 27th win of the year. The rookie goaltender also dished a pair of assists, including a long pass clear across the pool to a sprinting Dunstan to put Princeton up 2-1 at 4:03 in the first.
The Gaels scored the game-opening goal at 6:23, but it was all Princeton for the remainder of the match.
Soroka knotted things up less than 30 seconds later to set the Tigers up on 7-0 run into halftime.
Princeton went on to score eight uncontested goals through the third quarter, while shutting out the Gaels in both the second and fourth quarters.
This is the second year in a row Princeton has defeated Iona in the consolation bracket at NCAAs.
No. 6 Princeton: 3 – 4 – 4 – 1 – 12
No. 7 Iona: 1 – 0 – 1 – 0 – 2
Goals: Soroka 4, Dunstan 2, Rigler 2, Temple 3, Gyorffy 1
Assists: Soroka 1, Hooks 1, Dunstan 1, Gyorffy 4, Holechek 1, Gross 2, Johnson 2
Steals: Soroka 1, Hatcher 1, McBee 2, Rigler 1, Zwirner 2, Klein 1, Holechek 1, Murphy 1, Johnson 4
Saves: Johnson 15