Women’s water polo goes 1-4

In its final tournament of the year at Middlebury, women’s water polo finished 1-4 and showed a great deal of improvement as the season came to a close. Williams took on familiar opponents Dartmouth, Yale and Middlebury.

In the opening game on Saturday, the Ephs suffered a tough 12-3 loss to the experienced Big Green. Despite the return of key starters Lisa Chu ’10, hole set Courtney Asher ’09, Sophia Sequeira ’10 and goalie Gabrielle Joffe ’11, Williams was not able to keep Dartmouth away from the goal. A strong Dartmouth defense shut down Asher, cutting out an instrumental part of the women’s offense. Paula Moren ’12 and co-captain Abby Islan ’10 still managed to find the goal, making some key offensive plays to keep the Ephs in the game. The Ephs welcomed the return of their starters and took advantage of a bigger set of substitutes.

In Game 2 of the day, the Ephs lost 7-4 to the Panthers. In an exciting match-up, Williams started off a bit shaky, but by the second half managed to tie the game at 4-4. The Panthers slipped by a couple more times to win the game, but the Ephs exhibited great teamwork and communication. A positive attitude also kept up the intensity throughout the whole game. Moren made some key defensive steals, and Joffe made some exceptional saves that kept Middlebury fighting for a good shot. Chu proved a valuable asset to the team with her strong, experienced defense and aggressive spirit.

Later that evening, Williams recorded its first win against Yale with a score of 6-4. The Ephs came out a bit nervous, remembering how aggressive Yale had been in past tournaments. By the end of the first quarter, however, it was evident that with a bigger team than in previous tournaments, Williams could definitely compete. The invigorated Ephs managed to lead by a margin of two goals for the majority of the game. Sequeira played a key role, winning all of her swim-offs and earning key possessions for the Ephs.

On Sunday morning, Williams came out ready to take on Middlebury again. In yet another close match-up, the Ephs lost a competitive game. Asher did an impressive job as hole set and took many shots from outside, including one that was from nearly half-court. Moren had another impressive game, and was particularly effective in crashing on hole set and stealing the ball on defense. Gigi Campo ’10 made some effective offensive passes that kept the Panthers on edge.

In the final game of the weekend, the Ephs played the Bulldogs once more for fourth place. In a confusing tournament setup, Williams had to play five of the nine games this weekend, and though the game against Yale was the women’s fifth match, it was only Yale’s third. Fatigued, the Ephs lost 5-3 this time around, but they put in a strong effort. Islan, Moren, Asher and Joffe played the entire game, making important plays throughout. Claire Monroy ’09 won all of her swim-offs, and co-captain Emily Deans ’09 contributed important strategic experience to the team.

At the end of the weekend, the Ephs were very satisfied with their performance. “Our win-lose record doesn’t reflect how we played this weekend,” said Marissa Robertson ’12. “We really grew as a team this weekend.” The team, which graduates many important players, looks forward to training its younger players for a strong season next spring.