Women’s Water Polo Tops Bucknell, 9-8, in CWPA Fifth Place Game

Women’s Water Polo Tops Bucknell, 9-8, in CWPA Fifth Place Game

Courtesy of Collegiate Water Polo Association Communications

Brown             3  2  2  2  -  9
Bucknell          2  3  1  2  -  8

Woods 3, Rosen 2, Koper 1, Presant 1, Crowley 1, Santiago 1
Saves: Shin 5

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- One of nine seniors playing their final game for the Bears, Kate Woods (Sr., La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) scored three times to earn Player of the Game honors and lead Brown University to a 9-8 victory over the homestanding Bison of Bucknell University in the Fifth Place game of the 2014 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship at the Kinney Natatorium.

Woods, who joins classmates Sarah Shin (Sr., Fullerton, Calif./Sunny Hills), Raquel Louis (S., Wellington, Fla./Royal Palm), Emily McNamara (Sr., Winters, Calif./Saint Francis), Carly Wellington (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore./Jesuit), Sarah Presant (Sr., Poway, Calif./Bishops School), Brittany Westerman (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif./Deerfield Academy), Malaika Drebin (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) and Kristi Munoz (Sr., La Verne, Calif./Claremont) in competing for the final time in a Brown suit, led a Bears' offense which scratched and clawed its way to a one-goal win in the season rubber-match between the two Southern Division foes.

Brown (20-16, 5-3 Southern Division) never trailed in the game as Woods put the Bears in front 1-0 with four minutes left in the opening quarter. Bucknell (13-14, 5-3 Southern Division) pulled even 34 seconds later courtesy a tally by Stephanie Ovalle (Sr., Chicago, Ill./Fenwick), but Brown answered at 3:04 with a strike by Hannah Koper (Fr., Santa Barbara, Calif./San Marcos) to make it 2-1.

The squads exchanged man-up markers until the horn as Samantha Deana (Sr., Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) retied the game at 2:44 for the Bison prior to Liz Rosen (Jr., San Anselmo, Calif./St. Ignatius) nosing the Bears back into the lead at 3-2 with 33 seconds left on the clock.

Rosen's goal ignited a 3-0 run by the ursine as Woods whipped in her second score 20 seconds into the second quarter at 7:40 before Rosen converted on a six-on-five chance at 6:37 to expand Brown's lead to 5-2.

However, Bucknell refused to give in as Eleanor Marrs (So., Henderson, Nev./Green Valley), Hannah Sunday (So., Carlisle, Pa./Cumberland Valley) and Julianne Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) used back-to-back-to-back Bears' ejections at 5:07, 4:08 and 2:58 for goals at 4:47, 4:05 and 2:43, respectively, to equalize the scoreboard at five-all prior to halftime.

Brown reacquired the lead for good midway through the third quarter as man-up (4:04) and natural (3:19) tallies from Presant and Shannon Crowley (Fr., Seal Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos) gave the Bears a contest best two-score lead at 7-5.

Needing to chop into the lead prior to the conclusion of the period, the Bison turned to Mackenzie Ferry (Sr., Enola, Pa./Cumberland Valley) who swished a power-play opportunity with 1:15 on the scoreboard to put Bucknell within reach of Brown at 7-6.

Following the break between quarters, Brown caught a break as Ferry was whistled for a five-meter penalty and her third foul leading to her exclusion for the game and a free-position chance for Woods. Woods canned the chance 18 seconds into the new period to make it an 8-6 game and set-up a period of scoreless water polo for five minutes.

After a single Bucknell ejection (6:42) and a pair of Brown trips to the corner (7:17, 4:26) during which neither team was able to muster much offense, the Bison finally broke through to pull within a goal at 8-7. Valdes vanquished the period of inoffensive behavior by both teams by blasting in a ball at 2:31 to shave the lead back to a single tally at 8-7 with a lot of time left on the clock.

In a game that featured 14 student-athletes playing their final varsity intercollegiate game, including Rena Heim (Sr., Mohnton, Pa./Governor Mifflin), Ovalle, Valdes, Ferry and Deana for the Bison, it was a sophomore that saved the Bears as Olivia Santiago (So., Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos) beat Bucknell goalie Heim at 2:10 for the eventual game-winner.

Bucknell had a chance to chip the lead back to a goal once again at 1:50 when Rebecca Zak (Jr., Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad) swam to the corner with an ejection, but the Bears' defense put up their paws and stiffened in front of goalie Shin to keep the Bison in check during the advantage opportunity.

The stop would prove critical to avoiding overtime as Tegan Stanbach (Fr., Menlo Park, Calif./Saint Francis) swirled a shot around Shin with six seconds left in regulation to once again make it a one-goal game at 9-8.

However, the Bears' defense was able to run out the remaining seconds and preserve a one-goal win.

In a battle of senior goalies, Shin stopped five shots to pick up the win, while Heim turned aside 10 shots in taking the loss.

The game marked the third meeting of the year between the Bears and Bison as Bucknell claimed a 7-6 win on April 6 at home in Lewisburg and Brown notched a 12-9 victory in the Southern Division Championship semifinals at Harvard University.

For Bucknell, the sixth place finish ties for the program's second best mark at the CWPA Championship since 1999 as the team has finished fourth (2006), fifth (2010, 2014), sixth (2008), seventh (2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2013), eighth (2003, 2012), ninth (2000) and 11th (2002) in the multiple incarnations of the event.

Brown, which was making the program's seventh appearance in the Fifth Place game, has now finished first (2001), second (2003), fourth (2004, 2009, 2012), fifth (2000, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2014), sixth (2002, 2010), seventh (2005) and ninth (2011) in its previous trips to the league championship tournament.