Rigler & Brunner Net Hat-Tricks as No. 20 Princeton University Handles Harvard University 11-8 in CWPA Eastern Championship Fifth Place Game

Kristen Ward
Kristen Ward

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Lauren Brunner (Sr., Sacramento, Calif./St. Francis) and Katie Rigler (Fr., Fullerton, Calif./Rosary) netted hat-tricks as No. 20-ranked Princeton University dispatched Harvard University 11-8 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Championship fifth place game at Indiana University's Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.

The Tigers never trailed in the game as Tanya Wilcox (Sr., Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) went for back-to-back goals at 4:19 and 3:10 to open the scoring and give Princeton a lead it would not relinquish until the 3:50 mark of the third period.  Rigler added to the spread prior to the conclusion of the first period as she tossed in the first of her co-game-high three markers at 1:09.

The Crimson responded with consecutive scores as Devan Kennifer (Jr., Monterey, Calif./Santa Catalina) whipped in a man-up tally with 35 seconds remaining in the opening quarter and Shannon Purcell (Jr., Danville, Calif./Monte Vista) chipped in a natural goal 65 seconds into the second period to move Harvard to within one at 3-2.

However, Princeton got the pair back in short order as Brunner and Molly McBee (Fr., Palos Verdes, Calif./Palos Verdes) fired in markers at 5:50 and 4:37, respectively, to make it a 5-2 game.

The teams traded goals for the remainder of the half as Purcell converted on a man-up chance at 3:05 and Shayna Price (Fr., Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) drilled in a five-meter penalty shot at 2:29 to move the Crimson within 5-4.

Once again, the Tigers countered Harvard's offensive outbursts with one of their own as Rigler (2:09) and Brunner (00:32) netted scores prior to the halftime horn to stake Princeton to a 7-4 lead at the break.

Harvard responded in kind to Princeton's counterpoint as Elise Molnar (So., Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar) and Aisha Price (So., Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) scored at 6:49 and 4:15 to sandwich a yellow card to Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao. 

Down 7-6 with over half the period left to play, Harvard registered the equalizer at the 3:50 mark as Shayna Price launched a five-meter penalty shot up-and-into the cage to conclude a 3-0 scoring run by the Crimson in the third period.

Needing an offensive explosion of their own to set Harvard down, the Tigers turned to Brunner and Saranna Soroka (So., Redondo Beach, Calif./Chadwick School).  The duo dumped shots over the head of Crimson netminder Laurel McCarthy (Jr., Riverforest, Ill./Fenwick) with 1:26 and one second remaining on the period clock to tally the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goals as the Tigers' slashed its way to a 9-7 lead.

The margin expanded to 11-7 with over 3:30 left in the fourth period as Rigler (4:02) and Brittany Zwirner (So., Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) (3:22) added insurance before Shayna Price closed out the scoreboard changes and completed a hat-trick with 2:49 let to play.

For Princeton, goalie Kristen Ward (Jr., Sacramento, Calif./St. Francis) finished with seven saves to earn the victory in the final game of her third collegiate season, while the duo of McCarthy and Shami Entenman (Sr., Grosse Pointe Park, Mich./Grosse Pointe South) combined for five saves between the pipes for Harvard.

The victory marks the third time this year Princeton defeated Harvard as the Tigers previously picked up 12-3 and 11-5 victories.

Harvard's sixth place finish marks the program's highest since earning fifth place at the 2005 championship.  In previous trips to the championship during the modern era (2000-11), the Crimson finished eighth (2010, 2007, 2006), seventh (2009, 2002, 2001), sixth (2003), fifth (2005, 2004) and third (2000).

1 2 3 4 -- Final
Harvard University 1 3 3 1 -- 8
No. 20 Princeton University 3 4 2 2 -- 11

Princeton Goals: Lauren Brunner (3); Katie Rigler (3); Tanya Wilcox (2); Saranna Soroka; Molly McBee; Brittany Zwirner

Harvard Goals: Shayna Price (3) Shannon Purcell (2); Aisha Price; Devan Kennifer; Elise Molnar

Saves: Princeton - Kristen Ward (7) ; Harvard - Laurel McCarthy (5, 30 minutes), Shami Entenman (0, 2 minutes)

Exclusions: Princeton - 8 ; Harvard - 3

Advantage Opportunities: Princeton - 0-for-3 ; Harvard - 4-for-8

Sprints: Princeton - 0-for-4 ; Harvard - 4-for-4

Cards: YC - Luis Nicolao (Princeton)

Officials: Val Vasilchikov, Scott Krasinski

Elise Molnar looks to pass over Princeton University's Cari Levine

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