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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Division III No. 8-ranked Austin College split its games on the final day of the 2022 Tina Finali Memorial Tourament hosted by California Lutheran University at the Samuelson Aquatic Center.  The Kangaroos dropped their first match of the day in a 19-4 loss to No. 22 Long Island University prior to stunning Division III No. 5 Chapman University by an 18-13 count.

The ‘Roos never led against Long Island as the Sharks built a 3-0 margin prior to Cory McGrath (So., Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus) putting Austin on the board with 5:48 left in the first quarter.  McGrath’s score mark the lone strike of the firs half for the defending Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division III Champions as the Sharks went on a scoring frenzy to build a 12-1 lead by halftime.

Trailing 16-1 with 2:12 left in the third quarter, Presley Woods (Sr., Lantana, Texas/Guyer) snapped a 13 goal scoring run by LIU. 

Following another Sharks’ strike to regain a 15-goal lead at 17-2, the ‘Roos received back-to-back markers from Kylee Noble (So., Argyle, Texas/Guyer) and Woods at the 29 seconds mark of the third quarter and with 5:40 remaining in the fourth quarter, respectively, to inch within 17-4. 

However, Long Island expanded the final margin back to 15 prior to the end of regulation with a pair of tallies in the final four minutes of competition.

Woods led the ‘Roos with two goals with Noble and McGrath each adding single scores. 

In goal, Valery Piachonkina (Sr., Castro Valley, Calif./Mission San Jose) allowed six goals without a save in 7:49 to take the loss.  Erin McCormack (So., Orlando, Fla./Winter Park) played the final 24:11 with four saves and 13 goals allowed.

Paola Dominguez led the way for Long Island with five goals, while Elena Camarena and Alejandra Aranguren also notched hat-tricks.  Amelia Sanchez deposited a pair with Diba Peiravani, Kate Hinrichs, Xonhane Medina, Rachel Loomis, Jayda Myers and Kate Fischer each notching single strikes.

Julia Zebak earned the win with five saves.

Taking on the Division III No. 5 Panthers of Chapman in the final game of the weekend for Austin, Lexi Wong (Sr., Lantana, Texas/Guyer) and Sophie Oliver (Sr., Houston, Texas/Langham Creek) both scored six goals as the Division III No. 8 ‘Roos pulled off the upset.

McGrath and Brooke Le (Sr., Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound) both chipped in pairs with Shannon Berry (Sr., Austin, Texas/Westwood) and Alyssa Ross (So., San Jose, Calif./Leland) contributing single tallies.

Piachonkina earned the win with three saves.

Austin jumped on the scoreboard first in the game as Wong buried a man-up strike 36 seconds into the opening quarter to put the ‘Roos ahead.  Camille Chiang answered for Chapman on the power-play at 6:49 before Kasey Markell curved in a natural marker at 6:09 to put the Panthers in front at 2-1.

Berry squared the score at two-all at 5:53, but Julia Bridges returned the lead to Chapman at 30 seconds later by cashing in a man-up chance at the 5:23 mark.

Wong continued the back-and-forth pace of the contest by drilling in a penalty shot with five minutes on the clock, but Bridges netted another man-up goal for Chapman at 4:33 to once again provide the Panthers a one-score lead at 4-3.

However, Ross (3:11) and Oliver (54 seconds) provided Austin its first lead of the game at 5-4 by the close of the first quarter.

The back-to-back goals ignited a climatic scoring run that spanned into the second quarter as McGrath dented the twine (4:35) before Wong found the back of the net (3:30, 2:57) to double-up Chapman for an 8-4 lead.

The Panthers refused to lay down, however, as Morgan O’Connell (2:25) and Ally Long (1:53, 1:25) trimmed the deficit to 8-7.

Le (58 seconds) and O’Connell (six seconds) exchanged scoring blows before the end of the first half as Austin carried a 9-8 margin into the break.

Wong opened the third quarter by enlarging Austin’s lead to a pair at 10-8 (5:03), but O’Connell answered at 4:49 to shrink the differential back to one at 10-9.

The teams continued to trade scores as Oliver (3:40) and O’Connell (3:16) swished chances to keep the gap at one (11-10) more than midway through the third quarter.

Needing some breathing room, McGrath (3:00) increased the lead back to a pair at 12-10 before Oliver hurled home back-to-back shots at 1:56 and 1:20 to expand Austin’s lead to 14-10.

The run proved to be back-breaking as O’Connell answered for Chapman at 1:03, but Oliver flushed another chance with 32 seconds left in the frame to hand Austin a 15-11 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

O’Connell attempted to revitalize the Chapman offense in the fourth quarter by adding another goal with 5;36 left in regulation, but Oliver (5:04) and Le (3:27) dropped dimes to increase the spread between the teams to a bullet-proof 17-12.

O’Connell (2:56) and Wong (1:57) closed out the scoring as Chapman and Austin traded strikes down the stretch.

For the Panthers, O’Connell posted a game-high seven goals.  Long and Bridges both scored twice with Chiang and Markell each chipping in single tallies. 

Soul Parness made two saves in taking the loss for the Panthers.

Collegiate Water Polo Association