Water polo finishes third in MAAC championships

Alex Gallucci

The Villanova women’s water polo team ended its season successfully this past weekend in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where the ‘Cats competed in the MAAC Championship. Villanova was one of four teams from the MAAC conference to qualify for the championship. In the semifinals, the Wildcats faced No. 1 seed Wagner, and despite a strong effort, were defeated 5-2. Junior defender Taylor Schrang and sophomore driver Carla Martinez each contributed one goal, while goalie Jess Wells had six saves.

In their consolation match against Iona, senior driver Kim Pare finished her career with four goals, including the game winning goal with 38 seconds left in the double overtime period. Junior driver Brynn Rooney and sophomore defender Christina Dopp scored two goals apiece against Iona as Wells helped out with ten saves. When asked about the team’s victory, Dopp was thrilled to end the season on such a good note.

“Beating Iona was definitely the highlight of the season,” she said. “Those last 38 seconds were the longest I have ever played. Afterwards, we were all just in shock that it was over and that we were able to pull out the win. It was just a great way for us to end our season.”

In addition to the victory over Iona, Kim Pare was also named the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. Pare was second in the conference with 2.14 goals per game and was a driving force of the team’s offense. Speaking of Pare’s game winning goal over Iona, Dopp said, “It’s plays like that one that make Kim such a great player; she fights more for the loose ball than anyone I know.”

This year, the team’s season- long goal was to qualify for the MAAC Championship; however, the team definitely went beyond this by finishing not only ahead of Iona, but with a respectable third place. This is quite an impressive feat considering the team’s small numbers and new head coach.