Kurzac Nets Seven as Utica College Upends Pennsylvania State University-Behrend 14-9 to Reach 2012 CWPA Division III Championship Seventh Place Game
GROVE CITY, Pa. -- Evelyn Kurzac (So., Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) registered seven goals as Utica College used a 9-4 scoring advantage in the first half to outlast Pennsylvania State University-Behrend 14-9 and reach the 2012 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Championship Seventh Place game on the campus of Grove City College.
The victory moves the Pioneers (5-13, 4-9 CWPA Division III) into a 2:00 p.m. showdown with Chatham University for seventh place in the nine-team tournament. Utica will seek to continue a pattern of improving one place each season in the final divison standings as the squad finished ninth at home in 2010 and eighth last season at Macalester College.
PSU-Behrend (0-21, 0-13 CWPA Division III) finishes ninth in the field for the second consecutive season following an eighth place mark at the inaugural tournament in 2010.
Early on the Behrend Lions received the better of the play as Emily Spicher (Fr., Falls Creek, Pa./DuBuois) deked her defender for a tally just 29 seconds into the contest for a quick 1-0 lead for Penn State. Following a strike by Kurzac to balance the scoreboard at 7:17, PSU went back ahead as Paula Rusca (So., Chicago, Ill./Whitney Young) broke free and put a shot over the shoulder of Utica goalie Ali Templin (Fr., Sinking Springs, Pa./Wilson) to return the Lions to the front at 2-1 with 3:17 left on the period clock.
The goal ignited the Pioneers, however, as Utica went on a 6-0 run that lasted until Lindsday Musoleno (Fr., Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) answered for the Lions at the four minute mark of the second quarter.
Kurzac accounted for four of the goals during the spurt as she netted natural strikes at 2:26 of the first period along with 6:06 and 5:20 of the second, while tacking on a man-up tally at 1:18 of the opening quarter.
Jennifer Persio (Jr., Cheshire, Conn./Tilton) cashed in on an extra-man chance with 22 seconds and Lisa Torrii (Sr., Rosemont, Ill./St. Viator) beat the buzzer prior to the end of the period as the Pioneers led 5-2 after eight minutes of action.
The margin expanded to 7-2 thanks to Kurzac's pair of markers to open the second quarter, but Musoleno lined a shot into the cage at the 4:00 mark to close the gap to four. Michelle Allen (Jr., Canton, Mass./Canton) responded in kind for Utica (3:26), MaryEllen Spooner (Jr., Springfield, Va./West Springfield) tossed in the Lions' rebuttal (1:17) and Persio tipped in a centering pass for the Pioneers (45 seconds) to set the scoreboard at 9-4 entering halftime.
Both teams converted on man-up chances to start the second half as Kurzac added her sixth score of the morning at 6:23 following the ejection of Sarah Jelinek (Fr., Warren, Pa./Warren) at 6:50, while Musoleno took advantage of Katie Snyder's (Fr., East Greenville, Pa./Upper Perkiomen) trip to the corner at 4:53 by burying a pass at 4:48 to keep the goal differential at five (10-5).
Spicher sliced the lead back to four at 3:58 as she netted her second marker of the contestt, but Torii torched the Behrend Lions with a tally at 1:57 to keep pace the PSU's offense and return the lead to five at 11-6.
Needing a dramatic comeback to rally back and shock the Pioneers, Rusca attempted to fire-up the Lions by flipping in a man-up shot with 28 seconds left in the third quarter to move PSU within 11-7.
The tally appeared to energize Behrend as Spooner racked up back-to-back scores at 7:45 and 4:39 to begin the final period of play to make it an 11-9 game.
Facing a comeback without the momentum, the Pioneers turned to the trio of Rebecca Morgan (So., Utica, N.Y./Notre Dame), Kurzac and Allen who drilled back-to-back-to-back shots at 3:27, 2:32 and 54 seconds to douse PSU-Behrend's rally and preserve the victory for Utica.
Templin led the way for Utica on defense as the rookie netminder racked up eight stops in claiming her first postseason victory. Allen, Torii and Persio each contributed two-goal performances to aid the cause on offense in addition to a single strike coming from the hand of Morgan.
For the Behrend Lions, Elizabeth Causgrove (So., Erie, Pa./McDowell) led the way on defense by turning aside 11 Utica shots, while Spooner posted a hat-trick. Rusca, Spicher and Musoleno each chipped in pairs of goals as the Behrend Lions claim ninth in the field for a second consecutive year.
|Pennsylvania State University-Behrend||2||2
Utica Goals: Evelyn Kurzac (7); Michelle Allen
(2); Lisa Torii (2); Jennier Persio (2); Rebecca Morgan
PSU-Behrend Goals: MaryEllen Spooner (3); Paula
Rusca (2); Emily Spicher (2); Lindsay Musoleno (2)
Saves: Utica - Ali Templin (9) ; PSU-Behrend - Elizabeth Causgrove (11)
Exclusions: Utica - 12 ; PSU-Behrend - 8
Advantage Opportunities: Utica - 4-for-8 ; PSU-Behrend - 3-for-12
Officials: Kent Chung, JT Wall
Spooner passes as Utica College's Evelyn Kurzac closes in for a