NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Sarah Ur (Sr., Lompoc, Calif.) scored three times, including twice in a decisive fourth period, to earn her fourth consecutive National Collegiate Club Championship Most Valuable Player award and key the No. 1 ranked California Polytechnic State University to a 6-2 victory over the University of California-Davis in the title game of the 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship.
The victory makes history on a variety of levels as the Mustangs become the first collegiate club program (men and/or women) to claim four consecutive national championship crowns. The 2003 (vs. Michigan State University), 2004 (vs. Dartmouth College), 2005 (vs. Dartmouth), 2008 (vs. University of Oregon), 2009 (vs. University of Notre Dame) and 2010 (vs. University of Michigan) national champion, Cal Poly added another team to its list of championship game foes as the Mustangs also appeared in the 2002 (vs. Michigan State) and 2007 (vs. California State University-Fresno) title tilts and have now squared off with seven different teams during a stretch of nine title games in 10 years.
Ranked as the most successful collegiate club program in the history of water polo based on the number of title game appearances (nine), championships (seven) and tournament Most Valuable Player awards (seven), Cal Poly now boasts the most decorated student-athlete in the history of the sport as well since Ur's Most Valuable Player award marks the fourth of her four year career. The award is notable as she becomes the only athlete (men/female) at any level of collegiate water polo play (varsity/club) to claim four consecutive National Championship tournament MVP awards.
The 2008, 2009 and 2010 National Player of the Year and All-America First Team selection, Ur did not allow her past experiences overshadow her performance today as she dominated the Aggies scoring three goals to single-handidly outproduce the UC-Davis line-up's two markers.
She broke a scoreless tie with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth period with a man-up goal to stake the Mustangs to a narrow 1-0 lead.
Neither team managed much in terms of offense during the second period as UC-Davis received an advantage chance with 5:03 left and Cal Poly earned another six-on-five chance at 2:32 in the first half to account for the only legitimate scoring chances by either team.
UC-Davis continued to hang around in the game through the end of the third period before Erika Bigbie (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) collected a pass and buried the feed with 40 seconds left in the quarter to build the margin out to a pair of markers.
Cal Poly continued to pour it on in the fourth period as Ur struck again at 6:33, but the Aggies finally found the back of the cage with a blast by Tiffany Cheung (Jr., San Jose, Calif.) to trim UC-Davis' deficit down to 3-1.
Ur rebuilt the margin to a trio of goals 17 seconds later when she broke down the wings and reared up for her second taly of the championship contest to put her team ahead 4-1.
The teams continued to exchange shots as Emily Muniz (Gr., Saratoga, Calif.) put a ball into the cage at 2:35 for the Aggies, but Ur completed her hat-trick and effectively terminated the Aggies' hopes of a comeback with her third marker of the day with 1:26 remaining on the clock to make it a 5-2 game.
Casey Clark (So., Agoura Hills, Calif.), the heir apparent to Ur as the Mustangs dominant player of the next two years, concluded Ur's reign at the top of the collegiate club world and potentially began her own by ripping a shot home with one minute left in the championship contest for the 6-2 final score.
Although it was Ur's offense that put the Mustangs in front to stay, it was Cal Poly's defense that captured the program's fourth consecutive crown. Led by nine goals from Noelle Wondergem (Sr., Arroyo Grande, Calif.) between the pipes, the Pacific Coast Division champion Mustangs kept the Sierra Pacific Division champion Aggies off the scoreboard for the first 22:55 of the game to build a 3-0 lead and win by four scores.
For UC-Davis, Muniz and Cheung led the way on offense with single goals, while netminder Laura Heddleston (Sr., Sacramento, Calif.) recorded eight saves.
The victory marks the first time that Cal Poly has defeated a team from the Sierra Pacific Division for a national championship as their only other meeting against a Sierra Pacific squad in the title contest came in 2007 when Fresno State downed Cal Poly at the Unviersity of Oregon. In addition, it was the second time the two programs met this season as the Mustangs downed the Aggies 5-3 in non-conference tournament play earlier in the season.
Cal Poly will have a chance at five National Championships next year in the sunny Southeast Division which is slated to host the 2012 National Collegiate Club Championship. A site and date for the next chance at women's collegiate club water polo history have not been selected as of the final horn during the 2011 championship.
|No. 3 University of California-Davis
|No. 1 California Polytechnic State University||1||0||1||4||--||6|
Cal Poly Goals:
Sarah Ur (3); Erika Bigbie (2); Casey Clark
UC-Davis Goals: Tiffany Cheung; Emily Muniz
Saves: Cal Poly - Noelle Wondergem (9) ; UC-Davis - Laura Heddleston (8)
Exclusions: Cal Poly - 2 ; UC-Davis - 5
Advantage Opportunities: Cal Poly - 1-for-5 ; UC-Davis - 0-for-2
Sprints: Cal Poly - 4-for-4 ; UC-Davis - 0-for-4
Officials: Josh Kratz, Don Lewis
California Polytechnic State University's Sarah Ur
2008-11 Women's National
Collegiate Club Championship Most Valuable Player Sarah Ur