Women’s water polo splits MAAC games

Courtney Scrib

Despite falling short of their expectations last weekend, the women’s water polo players once again displayed the hard-fought effort and tenacity that has characterized the team all season.

In their opening weekend of Metro Athletic Conference play, the Wildcats defeated Iona and St. Francis and fell to Marist and Siena to finish with a 2-2 record in the MAAC and an 11-11 overall record. They are currently second in the league, behind Wagner (16-7, 4-0).

Heading into the first of the four games, senior Ellen Howe and her teammates felt confident that they could come away undefeated. In the previous weekend, the team placed seventh in the ECAC Championships, which featured several tough battles against George Washington, Wagner and Princeton. The 8-7 win over George Washington, which was decided in the final minute of the game, was especially rewarding. During the last meeting between the two teams, the Colonials upset the Wildcats by scoring the game-winning goal in the final seconds.

“It felt great to come back and win such a close game on Sunday after our two Saturday losses,” Kim Pare said. “I [was] very proud of the team’s effort and ability to pull out this win in the last minute of the game.”

Pare’s consistently solid play has been a major factor in the team’s success. On the first day of MAAC competition, the junior driver scored five goals. One of her four goals in the 7-4 loss to Marist came with 35 seconds left to play and sent the game into overtime. Then on the following day, she went on to score an additional seven goals, including four in the 8-5 victory over St. Francis.

While Pare has been satisfied with her level of performance and acknowledges that she has been improving with each competition, she is most impressed by how well the team as a whole has been playing.

“We [have been] controlling the game and executing our defense and offense well,” Pare said. “We are starting to come together as a team and beginning to play as a cohesive unit.”

Howe has been a dominating force in the pool, and with Pare, the two teammates form an unstoppable duo. Howe led the offense with one goal and three assists to help ‘Nova defeat Iona, 6-3 on Saturday. Meanwhile, on Sunday, her lone goal in the third quarter of the Siena game gave the ‘Cats a 7-5 advantage, although Siena ultimately won the game, 11-7, in overtime.

Like Pare, the San Diego native also measures her personal success by the team’s accomplishments.

“Kim and I [do] a good job of working together on offense to create opportunities for our teammates and score goals,” Howe said.

While Howe and Pare control the offensive end, goalie Jess Wells and freshman Carla Martinez dominate on defense.

Wells recorded 21 saves on Saturday, 15 of which came in the overtime loss to Marist. In that same game, Martinez had an impressive seven steals.

This Saturday the Wildcats continue conference play with home matches against Wagner and Sienna. Following the Wagner game at 10 a.m., Villanova, seeking revenge after last weekend’s overtime loss, will play Siena at 2:30 p.m.