ERIE, Pa. – A valiant comeback effort came up just short as the Connecticut College women's water polo team fell to No. 7 Macalester by a 13-12 decision in overtime in the championship game of the CWPA Division III Tournament on Sunday afternoon.
Seniors April Anderson (Mill Valley, Calif.), Shannon Cry (Monterey, Calif.) and Sarah Nappo (Portland, Maine) as well as freshman Stephania Lopez (Chicago, Ill.) were named to the all-tournament team. In addition, Lopez was named the rookie of the tournament after netting nine goals in three games.
Connecticut College tied the game for the fourth time at 11-11 when senior Sophia Soriano took a pass from sophomore Kaitlin Reagan (Saratoga, Calif.) and launched the ball into the net for a power play goal with 28 seconds remaining in regulation. Macalester called a timeout and had the opportunity to take the final shot, but Cry came up with her fifth steal of the game to force overtime.
The teams traded goals in the first three-minute overtime period, but the Scots were able to jump ahead by a 13-12 score by getting a buzzer-beating tally from Oriana Galasso. Neither team could find the back of the net in the second three-minute session, and Macalester escaped to win the tournament.
The Camels, who were making their fifth championship game appearance in the last six years, stormed out to a 3-0 advantage. Cry put the Camels on the board just 48 seconds into the match before Anderson and Lopez found the back of the net just 36 seconds apart during the middle of the opening frame.
Macalester then caught life and embarked on a 5-1 run between the second and third quarters to gain control of the match. Brooke Finney tied the game at 4-4 at the 5:44 mark of the second quarter, and Hannah Gray gave the Scots their first lead less than four minutes later. Galasso also added an insurance marker with two seconds on the clock to give the top-seeded squad a 7-5 edge at recess.
Despite falling behind by three early in the third quarter, Connecticut College would not go down without a fight and clawed its way back during the last 14 minutes of regulation. Reagan tied the game for the first time since early in the second quarter by launching the ball to the top right corner of the net with under a minute left in the third, while sophomore goalie Ginny McCool (Delray Beach, Fla.) stopped a penalty shot in the waning seconds of the period to keep the game deadlocked.
The teams continued to exchange goals during an evenly played fourth quarter. Even though the Scots went ahead by a goal on two occasions, the Camels had an answer each time. Cry then came up with a key defensive stop to prolong the match for an extra six minutes.
Anderson and Lopez each scored four times to lead the Connecticut College offense. Cry was also impressive in her final game as a collegian by winning all six swim-offs and recording seven steals. McCool entered the contest in the second half and made four saves, including one on a penalty shot, to allow the Camels to come back.
Galasso scored five times and also tallied the game-winning marker to pace Macalester, which won its second straight tournament crown. Courtney Overland made 15 saves in the cage.
Connecticut College (8-8) graduates five seniors and is slated to return 10 letterwinners next season.
2018 CWPA Divison III Championship All-Tournament Team
MVP: Lucille Moran (Macalester College)
Rookie of the Tournament: Stephania Lopez (Connecticut College)
Coach of the Tournament: Nikola Malezanov (Washington & Jefferson College)
Courtney Overland (Goalie) - Macalester College
Lucille Moran - Macalester College
Oriana Galasso - Macalester College
April Anderson - Connecticut College
Stephania Lopez - Connecticut College
Becca Dabrowski - Monmouth College
Elizabeth Andrews - Grove City College
Sarah Nappo (Goalie) - Connecticut College
Shannon Cry - Connecticut College
Devon Van Rensburg - Penn State Behrend
Maryn Horn - Penn State Behrend
Jessica Graziano - Carthage College
Allie Boothe - Carthage College
Cara Mullery - Macalester College