Wildcats to compete in MAAC Championship

Alex Gallucci

The water polo team recently completed their last and perhaps toughest regular season matches, preparing them for next weekend’s MAAC Championships in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The Wildcats played two double headers each on Saturday and Sunday, all against conference teams.

In its first game against Iona, Villanova had a 2-0 lead after the first half, but lost 9-7 after a close second half battle. The ‘Cats handled St. Francis easily in the second game, putting them away with a 10-5 victory.

On Sunday, Villanova played against two of MAAC’s strongest teams, Marist and Wagner. The Wildcats earned an early 5-1 lead against Marist, but struggled to keep it, ending regulation tied at 7-7. Marist found the net two more times in overtime, defeating the Wildcats 9-7. Villanova also had a tough game against conference champions Wagner, who defeated them 10-4.

Sophomore defender Christina Dopp said, “Coming into this weekend, we knew that it was going to be a challenging one and that we would have to play well as individuals and as a team if we wanted to be successful.”

Since ‘Nova will possibly play Marist, Wagner or Iona in the championships, the team is preparing by analyzing their past games and developing new strategies against these opponents.

Dopp described the team as mentally tough and prepared for this weekend.

“Because we are such a small team, each member is vital and we are all interdependent on each other,” she said. “This season, a number of girls on the team have played through injured shoulders, pulled muscles and other illnesses; we do not want to let each other down and it is this mental toughness that has led to our success as a team.”

Throughout the season, the team has remained extremely close and despite their small numbers, has achieved their main goal of qualifying for the MAAC Championship.

This weekend should prove an exciting one, as the water polo team finally gets a chance to prove themselves in their biggest tournament of the year against three extremely tough teams.