GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Heather Crockett (Sr., San Mateo, Calif./Aragon) and Kathryn Sheehy (Sr., Ventura, Calif./Foothill Technology) both scored twice in the second half to key Wheaton College to a 4-3 victory over Carthage College in the opening round of the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship hosted by Grove City College at the James E. Longnecker Competition Pool.
The stories of the game were the play of goalies Karalee Angus (Jr., San Diego, Calif./Mt. Carmel) and Ashley McGhee (Fr., Chicago, Ill./Lane Tech), along with the struggles of Carthage on man-up chances.
For Carthage (4-8, 4-7 CWPA Division III), the game saw the Lady Reds convert on just one-of-10 chances with an extra player in the water, including a zero-for-two performance in the final minute of the game. Overall, the squad's only score on an extra-man chance came at 4:04 of the third period when Megan Gillis (Fr., Jenison, Mich./Jenison) converted on her team's sixth opportunity of the contest.
Inversely to the Lady Reds' hard luck on the power-play, Wheaton made good use of its four chances as the Thunder rolled to the tying and game-winning goals in the final nine minutes of play. After failing to make hay on its first two chances in the first and second periods and trailing 3-2, Wheaton (10-5, 8-3 CWPA Division III) finally cashed in when Kati Pedersen (Sr., Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) was sent to the corner at 1:28 and Sheehy whipped a shot into the cage at the 1:08 mark of the third period to knot the game at three-all.
Another chance came 13 seconds into the fourth period as Sammi Craig (Fr., Chicago Ridge, Ill./Oak Lawn-Richards) was ejected. Following a 20-second timeout by head coach Jon Lederhouse, Wheaton received the eventual game-winning tally as Crockett connected on a man-up shot to put the Thunder in front for the first time at 4-3.
The lead would hold up the rest of the way as Angus stopped five shots and three man-up opportunities over the remainder of the game to preserve the victory for the Thunder.
For both teams, the contest was as a defensive struggle from the opening sprint before Mari Paraskevopoulos (Sr., Mount Prospect, Ill./Arlington Heights-Hersey) broke a scoreless deadlock with a shot at the 3:35 mark of the first period to put the Lady Reds ahead 1-0.
Neither team scored again in the first half as the Thunder went zero-for-two on man-up chances and Carthage did not convert on four opportunities thanks to the play of Angus and McGhee.
The third period saw an offensive explosion of five goals as the teams scored and answered each other over the eight minute frame.
Sheehy started the fireworks by skipping in a shot at 6:02, but Craig responded at 5:37 to return the lead to Carthage at 2-1. Crockett scored at even-strength (5:14) and Gillis (1:08) answered at 1:08 with a man-up goal to make it 3-2 in favor of the Lady Reds and set-up Wheaton's rally to victory.
With the win, Wheaton advances to a 4:30 p.m. showdown later today against No. 10-nationally ranked Washington & Jefferson College with a spot in the tournament championship game on the line. Carthage will meet Utica College, a 12-5 victim of W&J in the first round, at 3:15 p.m. to decide which team makes the tournament fifth place game at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 21.
Wheaton Goals: Heather Crockett (2); Kathryn
Carthage Goals: Sammi Craig; Mari
Paraskevopoulos; Megan Gillis
Saves: Wheaton - Karalee Angus (14) ; Carthage - Ashley McGhee (13)
Exclusions: Wheaton - 10 ; Carthage - 4
Advantage Opportunities: Wheaton - 2-for-4 ; Carthage - 1-for-10
Sprints: Wheaton - 4-for-4 ; Carthage - 0-for-4
Officials: Russ Thompson, JT Wall
Carthage College's Sammi
Craig (4) shoots against Wheaton College