Women’s water polo falls to experienced opponents at Yale

Women’s water polo had another exciting round of games in a tournament at Yale this past weekend. Though a very young and small team, Williams battled it out once again against Yale, Dartmouth and Boston University. The team’s fourth and final game of the weekend, against the Middlebury Panthers, was forfeited due to dangerous weather conditions. Men’s water polo alum Dan Meyer ’08 served as the women’s coach for the weekend.

The Ephs started the weekend with a 15-4 loss to the Bulldogs on Saturday morning. Despite the score, Williams came out with an impressive first half, fending off Yale’s offense and keeping the score close at 3-3 through most of the second quarter. Marissa Robertson ’12 and Paula Moren ’12 both enjoyed remarkable success on offense and managed to stun the Yale goalie on multiple occasions. However, the second half proved a little rougher for the Ephs, who lacked a large enough bench to keep substitutions running. This shortage, coupled with some defensive troubles, allowed the Bulldogs to come back strong and knock in several goals in the second half. Still, the Williams squad showed a lot of improvement, and a positive attitude kept the game enjoyable.

In the second game on Saturday, Williams played Dartmouth and lost 10-5. The Ephs came out with a weak first half but stepped it up in the second, keeping the Big Green scoreless for both the third and fourth quarters. Williams fought with the shot clock and successfully scored on many man-up 6-on-5 plays. Co-captains Abby Islan ’10 and Emily Deans ’09 were powerful forces on offense and racked up numerous points for the Ephs.

In their first and last game on Sunday, the Ephs lost 15-7 to the Terriers. BU – a notoriously strong team – played strong offense and defense, but Williams still found multiple opportunities for goals, and Islan, Gigi Campo ’10 and Moren proved instrumental parts in the Williams offense. The Ephs were even shorter on substitutes – they had just one – but managed to keep swimming despite the fatigue. Once again, the team demonstrated a better grasp on the game, with strong man-up plays and a greater understanding of drawing fouls.

Despite the 0-4 result of the weekend, the Ephs are by no means discouraged. The team is still missing some key players, including its goalie, and remains short on substitutes, making a tiring game all the more difficult. With six first-year players, the team plans to use March to practice and prepare for its next tournament.

“Not only did every player improve individually this weekend, we started to really play as a team,” Moren said. “We are getting used to playing with each other, and it’s showing in our passing, movement and plays.”

Indeed, the team looks forward to gaining more experience, much of which they gathered this weekend. “Everyone really stepped it up this weekend,” Islan said. “We had four beginners and few subs, but the young team really worked hard. With the help of some very positive and experienced players, we made this tournament a really fun and exciting experience. We learned a lot, and we’ll continue to.”

Women’s water polo will next play at Middlebury on April 18 and 19.