Rigler Does the Trick as No. 10 Princeton University Tackles No. 20 Iona College, 9-5, to Reach NCAA Championship Fifth Place Game
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Katie Rigler (So., Fullerton, Calif./Rosary) buried three goals and goalie Kristen Ward (Sr., Sacramento, Calif./St. Francis) posted 10 saves as No. 10-ranked Princeton University stopped Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Iona College, 9-5, to reach the fifth place game at the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championship at San Diego State University.
Due to the victory, the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Eastern Champion Tigers advance to the fifth place game at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, May 13 versus the victor of a consolation semifinal between No. 7 Loyola Marymount University of the Western Water Polo Association (WWPA) and Division III No. 1-ranked Pomona-Pitzer Colleges of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).
Although close until the fourth quarter, the game was all Princeton as the Gaels never led in the contest.
Brittany Zwirner (Jr., Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) put the Tigers on the board with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter as she buried a cross-cage shot past Iona netminder Marissa Gaynor (So., Orlando, Fla.).
Rigler expanded the lead to a pair slightly more than three minutes later as she skipped a shot that eluded Gaynor and settled into the back of the cage to continue a scoring run by Princeton.
However, Iona stormed back prior to the conclusion of the opening frame as Alyssa Turza (Jr., Orland Park, Ill.) flipped a shot into the upper left corner of the cage off a pass from Amy Olsen (So., Baytown, Texas) 14 seconds after Rigler's opening marker. Cecilia Leonard (Sr., Plantation, Fla.) knotted the game at two-all less than a minute later at 2:48 by ripping a shot into the upper left 90 of the cage on a man-up chance.
Princeton countered the Gaels'
scoring luck with a barrage in the second quarter as Rigler,
Saranna Soroka (Jr., Redondo Beach, Calif./Chadwick
School) and Molly McBee (So., Palos Verdes,
Calif./Palos Verdes) all put away shots to stake the
Tigers to a 5-2 lead at halftime
Following nearly two and a half minutes of scoreless water polo to begin the period, Soroka put the Tigers back in front to stay at 5:32 as she cracked a point blank shot past Gaynor one second after the expiration of a man-up chance to return the lead to the Blacck and Orange.
Rigler struck again to make it a two-goal game at the 2:53 mark as she unleashed a cross-cage shot on a six-on-five advantage opportunity to build Princeton's lead to 4-2.
Prior to the conclusion of the half, McBee buried a shot that begin headed towards the right post and faded into the lower left side of the cage with 2:22 on the clock to make it 5-2 and place Iona in a hole from which the Gaels' would attempt to climb out of in the third and fourth periods.
Turza started Iona's comeback bid just 48 seconds into the third quarter as she collected a loose ball after a foul and rifled home a direct shot at 7:12 to pull her squad within 5-3.
Following a tally by Audrey Zak (Sr., Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad) at 5:03 to return the Tigers' lead to three at 6-3 and register the eventual game-winner, the Gaels used a man-up chance to shilleghle Princeton as Leonard launched in a shot to the lower right side off a centering pass with 4:39 on the clock to make it 6-4.
Iona made the game interesting less than four minutes later as Turza completed a hat-trick by torquing home a tally that eluded Ward and pulled the Gaels within 6-5 with an eight-minute quarter left to play.
However, Princeton refused to be denied the potential of a fifth-place finish in their first NCAA Championship appearance as Soroka, Zwirner and Rigler made Iona's luck run out with three scores in five and a half minutes to drop the Gaels into a noon meeting on Sunday versus the loser of the LMU-vs.-Pomona-Pitzer clash.
Soroka started the closing blows as she accepted a pass from McBee on the right side and zipped in the ensuing shot at 6:37 to make it 7-5.
After Zwirner notched a man-up shot at 2:21 to make it a three-goal game at 8-5, Rigler closed out the Tigers' offense at 1:04 by finishing off a hat-trick via an empty net marker as Gaynor gambled and lost in an attempt for a steal.
Overall, Prineton dominated on offense by outshooting Iona 30-to-21 in total shots, including a 22-to-15 advantage in shots-on-goal, to help the Tigers improve to 29-5.
Gaynor finished with 13 saves for the Gaels, while Turza and Leonard were the only players to post offensive statisics as Iona fell to 24-13 on the season.
|No. 20 Iona College (24-13)
|No. 10 Princeton University
Princeton Goals: Katie Rigler (3); Saranna
Soroka (2); Brittany Zwirner (2); Molly McBee; Audrey
Iona Goals: Alyssa Turza (3); Cecilia Leonard
Shots: Princeton - 30 (8-7-7-8) ; Iona - 21 (6-4-7-4)
Saves: Princeton - Kristen Ward 10 (2-2-4-2) ; Iona - Marissa Gaynor 13 (4-2-4-3)
Exclusions: Princeton - 8 (2-3-2-1) ; Iona - 9 (0-3-3-3)
Advantage Opportunities: Princeton - 2-for-9 ; Iona - 2-for-8
Sprints: Princeton - 2-for-4 (1st, 4th) ; Iona - 2-for-4 (2nd, 3rd)
Officials: Joe Peila, Tiffany