Carthage College Upends Utica College 12-8 to Reach CWPA Division III Championship Fifth Place Game

Carthage College's Hannah Duke defends Utica College's Evelyn Kurzac

GROVE CITY, Pa.  -- Mari Paraskevopoulos (Sr., Mount Prospect, Ill./Arlington Heights-Hersey) buried four feeds as Carthage College outscored Utica College 7-4 in the second half to take a 12-8 victory and advance to the fifth place game of the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship at Grove City College's Longnecker Competition Pool.

Trailing 4-3 40 seconds into the second period following a catch-and-shoot goal by Utica's Evelyn Kurzac (So., Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) at the 7:20 mark, the Lady Reds (5-8, 5-6 CWPA Division III) went to work in overpowering the Pioneers (4-13, 3-9 CWPA Division III) as Megan Gillis (Fr., Jension, Mich./Jenison) netted a natural score at 4:55 and Jackie Knightley (Fr., Chicago, Ill./Mother McAuley) converted a man-up opportunity at 3:47 to ignite an 8-0 scoring run.

Ahead 5-4 at halftime, Carthage continued to expand the lead in the third period as Amanda Kuchan (So., Orland Park, Ill./Tinley Park-Andrew) cashed in on a man-up chance at 6:24.  Paraskevopoulos followed at 5:41, Kuchan put home her second of the afternoon at 4:39, Kati Pedersen (Sr., Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) notched a natural goal at 3:33 and Knightley made the Pioneers' comeback hopes go dark with another strike at 2:34 to push the spread out to 11-4. 

Utica atempted to climb back into the contest as Jennifer Persio (Jr., Cheshire, Conn./Tilton) answered with 31 seconds remaining in the third period and Kurzac connected on a shot at 5:58 to move within 11-7.

However, Sammi Craig (Fr., Chicago Ridge, Ill./Oak Lawn-Richards) reinforced Carthage's lead at 2:53 with her lone score of the contest before Kurzac notched her fifth marker with 19 seconds to go for the 12-8 final.

Between the pipes, Ali Templin (Fr., Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson) stopped 13 shots for Utica.  Charlene Hoffman (Fr., Palatine, Ill./Palatine) and Ashley McGhee (Fr., Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech) split time for the victors as the duo combined for seven saves.

The game appeared to be closer than the final score indicates as the two squads battled to a deadheat in the first period with both programs finding the back of the cage three times.

Kurzac started the scoring in the game by drilling a shot at the 7:40 mark after the Pioneers won the opening sprint.  Paraskevopoulos responded for the Lady Reds with a successful five-meter penalty shot (7:20), but Rebecca Morgan (So., Utica, N.Y./Notre Dame) tipped in a pass at 4:15 to return the lead to Utica.

Paraskevopoulos again made the counter-point for Carthage as she rattled the iron with a blast at 3:40, but Kurzac torched the Lady Reds for another goal at 2:31 to return the lead to Utica at 3-2. 

The pattern of counter-punching continued as Gillis closed the first period with a strike (00:33) on an extra-man opportunity, while Kurzac opened the new period by completing a hat-trick (7:20) to set the score at 4-3 and set-up Carthage's eight-goal knokout outburst.

Besides Paraskevopoulos, the Lady Reds received pairs of scores from Gillis, Knightley and Kuchan as Carthage will next be in action at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 21 in the fifth place game against either Macalester College, Pennsylvania State University-Behrend or Chatham University.

Utica will return to competition at 9:30 a.m. on April 21 as the Pioneers will meet the loser of a second round game between Macalester and PSU-Behrend.  The Pioneers will find out their opponent tonight as the Scots and Behrend Lions are set to meet at 9:00 p.m.


Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th -- Final
Utica Colleege 3 1
1
3
-- 8
Carthage College
3
2
6
1
-- 12

Carthage Goals: Mari Paraskevopoulos (4); Megan Gillis (2); Jackie Knightley (2); Amanda Kuchan (2); Sammi Craig; Kati Pedersen

Utica Goals: Evelyn Kurzac (5); Rebecca Morgan; Sarah Parker; Jennifer Persio

Saves: Carthage -  Charlene Hoffman (4), Ashley McGhee (3) ; Utica - Ali Templin (13)

Exclusions: Carthage - 3 ; Utica - 9

Advantage Opportunities: Carthage - 4-for-9 ; Utica - 1-for-3

Cards: None

Officials: Russ Thompson, JT Wall 

Carthage College's Mari Paraskevopoulos defends Utica College's Kate Snyder


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