Utica College Escapes Chatham University 7-6 to Take Seventh Place at 2012 CWPA Division III Championship
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Utica College held off a comeback bid by Chatham University to hang on for a 7-6 win in the seventh place game of the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship at Grove City College's James E. Longnecker Competition Pool.
Leading 6-3 following a tally by Jennifer Persio (Jr., Cheshire, Conn./Tilton) with 6:25 remaining in the fourth period, Utica saw its margin evaporate quickly as Lauren Burrows (So., North Canton, Ohio/Glen Oaks) and Natty Burford (Sr., Temecula, Calif./Temecula Valley) fired in shots at 5:28 and 1:02, respectively, to pull the Cougars within 6-5 with a minute to play.
Needing a quick goal to insulate the Pioneers' victory hopes, Rebecca Morgan (So., Utica, N.Y./Notre Dame) drilled a shot past Chatham netminder Allison Bodine (Sr., Frederick, Md./Urbana) with 49 seconds on the game clock for the eventual winning score.
Facing less than a minute to stun the Pioneers and force overtime, the Cougars growled back into the contest when Selina Breiner (Sr., Moon Township, Pa./Moon) laced a desparation heave with 30 seconds to go that sailed over the outstretched arms of Templin to pull Chatham to within 7-6.
With less than a full shot clock remaining on the scoreboard, Utica worked the ball down into the offensive zone and passed it around to avoid a Chatham steal as the Pioneers narrowly escaped with the one-goal victory.
The win continues a trend of steady improvement for the Utica program which placed ninth in 2010 and eighth in 2011 at the CWPA Division III Championship tournament. For Chatham, the eight place finish is one spot off the Cougars previous placement of seventh at both the 2010 and 2011 tournaments hosted by Utica and Macalester College, respectivley.
The key to the Pioneers' victory was the play of goalie Ali Templin (Fr., Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson), the reigning Division III Defensive Player of the Week, who stopped 14 shots during the course of the game to keep the Cougars' offense in check for most of the first three quarters of play.
Chatham jumped on the scoreboard first in the opening quarter as Annalies Layton (Sr., Pittsburgh, Pa./Taylor Allderice) broke the ice with 6:30 left in the period. Breiner pushed the lead to 2-0 28 seconds later with a five-meter penalty shot, but Utica halved the margin prior to the conclusion of the first period as Burrows was ejected and Evelyn Kurzac (So., Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) converted on the ensuing man-up chance with 44 seconds on the clock to make it 2-1.
Defense was key to the second quarter as Templin turned away five shots and Kurzac sidearmed home a shot at 6:37 to knot the game at two-all prior to the halftime horn.
The Pioneers took the lead 42 seconds into the third quarter as Kurzac completed a hat-trick with a five-meter penalty shot, but the Cougars responded over four minutes later when Breiner registered a penalty shot with 3:03 on the clock to even the damage at three-all.
Utica regained the advantage eight seconds later when Lisa Torii (Sr., Rosemont, Ill./St. Viator) streaked down the side of the tank and ripped in the go-ahead score past Bodine at 2:55. Persio added to the lead with the first of her two tallies on the day with 58 seconds left in the period to make it a 5-3 game and set-up the dramatic fourth quarter.
Bodine finished the contest with 10 saves, while Breiner added a hat-trick to lead the Cougars' in their finale.
Utica Goals: Evelyn Kurzac (3); Jennifer Persio
(2); Lisa Torii; Rebecca Morgan
Chatham Goals: Selina Breiner (3); Lauren
Burrows; Natty Burford; Annalies Layton
Saves: Utica - Ali Templin (14) ; Chatham - Allison Bodine (10)
Exclusions: Utica - 7 ; Chatham - 8
Advantage Opportunities: Utica - 2-for-8 ; Chatham - 2-for-7
Officials: Kent Chung, JT Wall
Utica College's Madison
Christoff collects a loose ball as Chatham University's Annalies