NEW LONDON, Conn.--Sam Pierce (Windsor, Conn.) scored five times, including three man-up strikes in the second and third quarters to allow the Camels to pull away, as Division III No. 10-ranked Connecticut College outscored Division III No. 9 Washington & Jefferson College 6-3 in the second half to overcome the Presidents, 13-9, and claim the program's fourth consecutive CWPA Division III Championship at home in the Jane Caldwell Lott '36 Natatorium today.
The Camels improved their record to 15-6 with the triumph. They have secured a bid for the CWPA Championship that will be hosted by Harvard University April 29-May 1 in Cambridge, Mass.
The Presidents closed out another terrific season with a record of 16-6.
CWPA Division III MVP Kelsey Millward (Baie D'Urfe, Quebec) scored four goals for the Camels. Sophomore Sophia Soriano (Summerland, Calif.) April Anderson (Mill Valley, Calif.) and Brianna Harrity (Jeffersonville, Pa.) and Shannon Cry (Monterey, Calif.) all contributed with single markers for the winning side. Junior Sarah Sovia (Pottstown, Pa.) made eight saves in a spectacular performance in the cage.
Millward, who was named MVP of the conference Friday, was recognized as the Tournament's Most Valuable Player this afternoon. She scored 13 goals this weekend to lead the Camels in the three victories and has accounted for 244 scores in her prolific playing career.
Millward and Harrity were both honored on the All-Tournament First Team. Pierce earned second team honors. Connecticut College Head Men's and Women's Water Polo Coach Matt Anderson was recognized as the Coach of the Tournament.
Junior Sarah Latzo (Erie, Pa.) scored four times to lead the Presidents in the setback. Laura Travers (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Rachel Clauss (South Pasadena, Calif.) scored two goals each for W & J. Sophomore Alexandra Gartner (West Lawn, Pa.) supplied a goal for the visitors. Junior Ally Hopkins (Sinking Spring, Pa.) made 10 saves between the pipes.
With 4:24 remaining in the opening quarter, Harrity assisted Pierce for a goal that vaulted the Camels out to a 4-2 advantage. But the Presidents responded with a 4-0 run to take their first lead. Latzo scored a pair of goals 25 seconds apart before Gartner capped the rally with 2:54 remaining in the half to put the visitors on top 6-4.
However, the Camels responded with a late scoring surge of their own to regain the lead. Pierce rifled home a high arching shot with 2:33 remaining to trim the deficit to 6-5. Then, with 24 seconds left, Pierce put in the equalizer with another blast, beating Hopkins at the near post side of the cage. Harrity was the facilitator on both scores and the teams were knotted up at six. Just before the horn sounded with four seconds left, Pierce assisted Millward for a goal to put the Camels on top 7-6 at the break.
The Camels used goals from Harrity and Soriano to open up a 9-6 advantage in the third quarter. Later on in the third with 2:15 to go, Sovia made a brilliant stop on Gartner from point blank range to protect the three goal lead. But Latzo got one back with 1:26 remaining to make it a 9-7 game. But the Presidents just could not stop Pierce and with nine seconds left in the quarter, the senior All-American swimmer unloaded with her fourth goal of the day. Harrity assisted on the tally with a nice centering pass and the hosts were on top 10-7 after three quarters of action.
Washington & Jefferson got one back with 7:43 remaining in the contest to make it a 10-8 game. Another clutch punch-save by Sovia with 6:22 to go kept the visitors from inching even closer. But Millward scored two of the next three goals for the Camels to put the match away. The senior All-American flipped on in with 3:23 remaining to close out the scoring in the contest and the Camels celebrated with the 13-9 triumph.
Teams 1 2 3 4 -- Final
Division III No. 9 Washington & Jefferson College (16-6, 16-1 CWPA Division III) 3 3 1 2 -- 9
Division III No. 10 Connecticut College (15-6, 14-3 CWPA Division III) 4 3 3 3 -- 13
Connecticut Goals: Sam Pierce (5); Kelsey Millward (4); Sophia Soriano; April Anderson; Brianna Harrity; Shannon Cry
W&J Goals: Sarah Latzo (4); Laura Travers (2); Rachel Clauss (2); Alexandra Gartner
Saves: Connecticut - Sarah Sovia (8) ; W&J - Ally Hopkins (10)
Exclusions: Connecticut - 8 ; W&J - 14
Advantage Opportunities: Connecticut - 6-for-14 ; W&J - 4-for-8
Sprints: Connecticut - 3-for-4 (1st, 2nd, 3rd) ; W&J - 1-for-4 (4th)
Officials: Bruce Morehouse, Brad Peavey0
#18 Abbey Wrobleski:
Three Year Captain
On winning four Division III Championships in four years:
It feels great. Coming in my freshman year the highest they had done was fourth place. So to go first place four years in a row was unheard of and an incredible experience. I'm so happy I was a part of it.
On Battling Back in the Second Quarter from a 6-4 Deficit:
I got into a little kick-out trouble. We had to make sure we were helping on defense and making sure we could limit the number of kick-outs that we were getting so that we could have everyone in for the end of the game.
On Kelsey Millward's Overall Contributions to the Program:
Kelsey is an incredible player. She's great at making opportunities out of nothing and it really helped our team. She's great on defense, offense, she works so hard all the time and it showed this whole season. She did great.
Coach Matt Anderson:
On the Camels' Second Quarter Response to W & J's 4-0 Run
Before the game I told them we are going to play our game. They are going to do a lot of things as Nicola is going to make it very challenging. Just stay with what we needed. Those three goals late in the second on pure speed and aggressiveness are what the difference was. W & J had done a great job of staying with us and playing our game. But I knew that eventually that we'd take advantage of an opportunity when they let us if we played our game for 32 minutes.
On the Team's Progression Over the Course of the Season:
Go back and look at us. We lost to W & J by nine goals earlier this season. We lost to Carthage by five. People were counting us out. I told the girls look, this is what we need to do. If you're willing to put in the effort physically and mentally I think we can do some things. No one picked us to be here at the end of the day at the start of the season so we had nothing to lose. I challenged this team to start a legacy and they did a wonderful job.
On Competing at the CWPA Championship at Harvard:
I've spent most of my life coaching in that tournament with one team. They're trying for something. We're the Division III team that gets to go. We're just going to play the game and relish that we're champions in Division III on the East Coast. This is going to be fun to see good water polo with Michigan, Harvard, Princeton, Hartwick and Indiana. To see my friends and the girls are going to have a good time.
On the Play of Goalie Sarah Sovia in Her First Season as Starter:
Sarah is the epitome of someone who has the right mind set. She was the fourth goalie last year. Because of injuries and what not three goalies did not return. All of a sudden, she went from playing in two or three games to playing in almost every minute this year. That girl is the backbone of our team.
#9 Kelsey Millward
CWPA Division III Regular Season & Post-Season MVP
On Pulling out the Victory Today:
We're really excited. We're so happy to extend our season another 10 days and play against some really strong Division I Teams.
On Winning a Fourth Straight Division III Championship
It's unreal. I honestly can't believe it. We work so hard in and out of the pool. We're such a cohesive team. We bonded so well over the course of the season so I'm really not surprised.
On the Second Quarter Rally and Dictating the Pace of the Match
They came out really aggressive and we just responded to that. We wanted to swim with them as hard as we could. They could not keep with us for sure. We just kept bringing it to them over the course of the whole game and pulled out the win.
On Competing at the CWPA Championship:
We play up to our competition. We're really excited to be able to play some teams that are really strong and have a lot of talent. I think we'll be able to match up and play to our abilities.