May 10, 2009

Courtesy of Marist Athletics

COLLEGE PARK, MD. - The Marist water polo team defeated the Cal Lutheran Regals 16-11 on Sunday afternoon to win the seventh-place game at the 2009 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championships in College Park, Md. The win is the Red Foxes' first-ever NCAA Tournament win and the first for any MAAC Water Polo League team. Junior Samantha Swartz (Harleysville, Pa.) led Marist with five goals as Katelin McCahill (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) added four goals.

"They knew they could do it, they have trained to do it and it's just a matter of putting it into action," said head coach Ashleigh Jacobs. "I think there was great energy the entire weekend; you could see it building all three days."

"It feels great to accomplish what we wanted to," added McCahill. "We did a lot of the things this season that we strived for and it just feels great to go out with a win. It's good for us to be able to represent the MAAC and win a game here at NCAAs."

Marist (19-15) got off to a hot start as Swartz and Kristen Barnett (Houston, Texas) each scored in the first 1:05 of the game, putting the Red Foxes ahead 2-0. Cal Lutheran would not be deterred, getting goals from Joy Cyprian and Meredith Butte to make the score 3-2 with 3:25 remaining in the first quarter. Swartz scored her third goal of the game with 1:12 left in the opening period to put Marist back up by two, 4-2. Angie Rampton (Simi Valley, Calif.) followed with her only goal of the game, scoring the Red Foxes' fifth goal with 17 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Regals opened the second quarter with two straight goals, getting to within one at 5-4 with 6:00 left in the half. That would be as close as they would get. Hilary Schroeder (Santa Barbara, Calif.) scored at the 5:42 mark to make the score 6-4. McCahill followed that with her first goal with 4:26 remaining in the quarter. Swartz then scored her fourth goal of the half with 0:58 left to give Marist an 8-4 halftime lead.

The Red Foxes kept on rolling in the second half. McCahill scored back-to-back goals at the 5:15 and 4:55 marks of the third quarter to put Marist ahead 10-4. Colleen Lischwe (Kirkwood, Mo.) scored with 3:32 left in the quarter to make the score 11-4. Cal Lutheran ended Marist's six-goal run with 3:17 to go in the third with a Cyprian goal. Lauren Bridges followed Cyprian's goal with one of her own to make the score 11-6 with 2:10 to go. Marist went back up by six on Swartz's fifth goal, taking a 12-6 lead with 1:45 to go in the third.

Cal Lutheran (19-15) got as close as four in the fourth quarter. Cyprian scored the Regals' first three goals of the quarter to make the score 13-9 with 4:23 to go in the game. Marist responded with goals by McCahill and Caitlin Hopkins (Beaverton, Ore.) to put the lead back at six, 15-9, with 2:05 left in the game which put the game out of reach for the Regals.

The Red Foxes close the 2009 season with a record of 19-15, winning their third MAAC Water Polo League title in four years and also reaching their third NCAA Championship.