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GRESHAM, Ore. — Goalie Kelley Cartwright (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) came off the bench to make five saves in the second half, including a five-meter penalty shot with 3:35 remaining in the fourth quarter and her team clinging to a one-goal lead, as Sierra Pacific Division Champion/defending National Champion/No. 1-ranked the University of California-Davis overcame a 5-3 halftime deficit to top Southeast Division Champion/No. 5 the University of Florida, 8-7, in the semifinals of the 2018 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship at Mt. Hood Community College.

Courtesy the win, the 2017 Women’s National Collegiate Club Champion Aggies earn the right to defend their crown as the three-time titlist (2012, 2013, 2017) will look to surpass Michigan State University (2001, 2002, 2006) for the second most National Championships behind seven-time winner California Polytechnic State University (2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011).

The Aggies will return to the water at 12:45 p.m. for the National Championship game against the victor of a semifinal pitting Midwest Division Champion/No. 10 Lindenwood University and Pacific Coast Division Champion/No. 2 Cal Poly State University.  A UC-Davis-vs.-Cal Poly title game will mark the fourth time the two West Coast uber-teams have squared off for the crown with the Mustangs claiming a 6-2 win in 2011 at the University of Notre Dame before the Aggies picked up the 2012 (2-1 W at Florida State Universty) and 2017 (9-8 W at University of Pittsburgh) crowns.

UC-Davis’ return to the National Championship game appeared unlikely for nearly three full quarters of competition as the Gators dominated the style and pace of play for the vast majority of the game.

Florida raced out to a 2-0 lead approximately two minutes into the game as Jessie Modrak (Jr., Weston, Fla.) and Kelly Martin (Gr., Orlando, Fla.) deposited even-strength (6:44) and man-up (4:58) goals, respectively.  The Aggies cut into the lead prior to the conclusion of the first quarter as Diana Hatamian (Sr., San Jose, Calif.) hammered home a heave with 3:43 on the clock to move within 2-1.

Hailey Jackson (So., San Diego, Calif.) erased Florida’s lead 39 seconds into the second quarter by clanging in a six-on-five chance with 6:21 until halftime.  However, the Gators snapped back with Angela Vazquez (So., Lake Mary, Fla.) stuffing consecutive natural goals past UC-Davis starting goalie Cassidy Crouch (So., Clovis, Calif.) with 4:32 and 2:27 remaining in the second quarter to go ahead 4-2.

Sofia Caryotakis (Sr., Portola Valley, Calif.) chipped the lead down to 4-3 at 2:08, but Modrak gave the Gators back a two-goal lead going into halftime as she hit the mesh with 1:30 on the clock for a 5-3 scoreboard advantage after 14 minutes of competition.

The deficit concluded Crouch’s day as Cartwright came on after halftime to take over between the pipes with hopes of rallying her team back into the contest.

For UC-Davis, the change paid immediate dividends as Dallyce Marglon (Sr., Tracy, Calif.) and Carmen Steinmeier (So., Sunnyvale, Calif.) ticked off back-to-back tallies at 4:54 and 4:19, respectively, to balance the scoreboard at five-all and give the Aggies new life.

Florida went back in front with 3:40 to go in the third quarter via a power-play conversion by Martin, but Julia Kinsolving (Sr., San Anselmo, Calif.) delivered a response at 2:18 to tie the score at six-all and change the course of the game.

Neither team could solve their opponent’s defense until the 32 seconds mark as Steinmeier provided UC-Davis its first lead at 7-6 with a sinking shot that eluded Gators’ netminder Mary Campbell (Gr., Orlando, Fla.).

Florida posted a response with 10 seconds left via a man-up strike by Jacqueline James (Jr., Orlando, Fla.) to even the damage at seven-all, but Hatamian played hero by ripping in a shot with three ticks on the clock to give UC-Davis an 8-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

From there, Cartwright took over as she made five saves in the fourth quarter, including a point blank five-meter penalty shot with 3:35 to go in the game, to make Hatamian’s game-winner stand-up for a dramatic 8-7 comeback victory.

For UC-Davis, Steinmeier and Hatamian both scored twice, while Marglon, Jackson, Kinsolving and Caryotakis chipped in solo strikes.  Crouch finished the game win five saves and five goals allowed in the first half, while Cartwright picked up the victory with five saves and two goals permitted in the second half.

Florida, which misses out on making the program’s third National Collegiate Club Championship title game appearance following losses to Michigan State in 2001 and 2006, received pairs of goals from Vazquez, Modrak and Martin to accompany a single score by James.

Campbell took the loss with 15 saves including nine stops during the Aggies’ second half comeback.

Florida will conclude its participation at the 2018 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship with an 11:30 a.m. Pacific/2:30 p.m. clash with the fallen from the Lindenwood-Cal Poly semifinal as the Gators will seek to notch a Third Place finish. 

Historically, Florida has never finished outside the Top 10 at the National Club tournament with prior second (2001, 2006), third (2002, 2004, 2012), fourth (2003, 2016), fifth (2000, 2011), seventh (2008), eighth (2014) and ninth (2005, 2007) place marks.

  1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q FINAL
No. 5 University of Florida 2 3 2 0 7
No. 1 University of California-Davis 1 2 5 0 8
UC-Davis Goals: Carmen Steinmeier (2); Diana Hatamian (2); Dallyce Marglon; Hailey Jackson; Juila Kinsolving; Sofia Caryotakis
Florida Goals: Angela Vazquez (2); Jessie Modrak (2); Kelly Martin (2); Jacqueline James
Saves: UC-Davis – Cassidy Crouch (5, 14 minutes), Kelley Cartwright (5, 14 minutes) ; Florida – Mary Campbell (15)
Exclusions: UC-Davis – 12 ; Florida – 5
Advantage Opportunities: UC-Davis – 1-for-5 ; Florida – 3-for-12
Sprints: UC-Davis – 2-for-4 (3rd, 4th) ; Florida – 2-for-4 (1st, 2nd)
Cards/Misconducts: None
Officials: Gene Gill, Simone LePay


University of Florida’s Daniela Duarte (#10) lines up a shot as the University of California-Davis Sydney Preston (#7) defends


University of Florida goalie Mary Campbell (#1)


University of California-Davis’ Sofia Caryotakis (#6) shoots

Collegiate Water Polo Association