Women’s Water Polo Loses to LIU, Routs VMI


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Water Polo had a tough time adjusting to pool changes in MAAC this weekend.

Camden Wright, Staff Writer

Villanova’s women’s water polo team opened the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) slate with two games on Saturday, March 18 at the Spiro Sports Center in Staten Island, New York.

The Wildcats, 11-11, lost their opening game of the day to Long Island University (LIU), 13-6, before redeeming themselves with a 21-6 victory over the Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

In their game against LIU, the Wildcats suffered a conference-opening loss. 

After a tight first quarter, where the Wildcats led, 3-2, LIU ran away with the game, scoring five goals in the second quarter, to go up 7-4.

The Wildcats had a goalless third period, and LIU extended its lead to 9-4. With the Sharks lead extending, Villanova struggled to make a comeback and lost.

Freshman Gracin Kerry and sophomore Sarah Shaw, who were in net for the Wildcats, combined for 15 saves, with Shaw also having an assist and a steal. 

Villanova’s six goals were led by senior Lauren Picard, who scored twice and added an assist for three points. 

In the second game of the day, Villanova found its rhythm against VMI. 

Villanova had a strong start with back-to-back goals from senior Emily Morrissey at the beginning of the game. The first quarter ended with Villanova leading, 5-1. 

Come halftime, the Wildcats led, 9-3, and after a pair of VMI goals early in the third quarter, Villanova once again regained control of the game, scoring eight goals to extend its lead to 17-4. 

It held onto this momentum in the final quarter of play and grabbed the victory.

In the third game of the weekend, Villanova was unable to keep pace with No. 18 Wagner, falling, 18-9. 

The Wildcats were outscored by Wagner, 5-2, in both the first and second quarters. Although Villanova found a goal in the first minute and a half of play, Wagner quickly took control with a three-goal run to take a 4-1 lead. Villanova’s Byles then scored a goal to bring the Wildcats within four. However, Wagner closed out the first half with two more goals to lead 10-4.

In the third quarter, Villanova scored four goals but still found itself outscored by the Seahawks, who added seven goals to make the score 17-8. 

Despite the loss, Villanova was still able to add to the stat sheet with junior Stella Byles and sophomore Emily McKenzie, who each scored three goals. McKenzie also added an assist for four individual points.

This weekend of competition presented some challenges for the ‘Cats. What is supposed to be a 25-yard wide, 25-meter narrow pool, was only 20 meters wide for this conference tournament. 

“Because [the pool] is more narrow you have to orient yourself to the goal, not the wall,” head coach Larry Sanders said. “It’s a different feeling.”

With the past week of competition behind them, the Wildcats will return to the pool on Saturday, March 25 for a conference rematch against LIU.