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Saint Francis University-vs.-Mount St. Mary’s University Scoresheet (2021 CWPA Division I Championship – Third Place)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Emese Szucs (Fr., Budapest, Hungary) scored four times and dished out a pair of assists as Saint Francis University capped off the program’s fourth appearance at the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Division I Championship with a commanding 17-1 defeat of Mount St. Mary’s University in the University of Michigan’s Canham Natatorium.

Courtesy the win, Saint Francis (10-12, 3-5 CWPA) places third in the four-time CWPA Division I Championship standings, while Mount St. Mary’s (0-15, 0-8 CWPA) concludes its inaugural season of varsity competition with a Fourth Place mark.

SFU –  which previously placed eighth in a nine-team field in 2017 at Indiana University, Ninth in 2018 at Bucknell University and sixth in a seven-team field at Brown University in 2019 – never trailed against the Mountaineers by causing an offensive onslaught which swamped Mount St. Mary’s.

Taylor Halbauer (So., Edmonton, Alberta/Mother Margaret Mary) broke the ice for the Red Flash to start her team’s barrage by burying a feed from Szucs with 6:23 left in the first quarter.  Szucs posted what would prove to be the game-winning goal under a minute later as she converted on a six-on-five opportunity with 5:35 on the clock to make it 2-0.  Abbie Carter (So., Abbotsford, British Columbia/St. John Brebeuf) and Julia Bradford (Jr., Edinboro, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) followed with natural markers 21 seconds a part at 4:48 and 4:27, respectively, to close out the opening frame’s scoring and stake Saint Francis to a 4-0 lead eight minutes into the contest.

Following a goalie switch for the Red Flash from starter Rosalinda Rivera (Jr., Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) to Heather Jacobson (So., San Jose, Calif./Presentation) prior to the start of the second quarter, the SFU offense went back to work.

Szucs struck again at 5:04 prior to Madeleine Voss (So., Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) putting away a feed from Addison Williams (So., Clovis, Calif./Sanger) at 4:13 to make it 6-0.  Haiden Lang (So., Placentia, Calif./Esperanza) finished out the first half’s scoring with 1:25 until halftime as she cashed in on a centering pass from Halbauer to hand Saint Francis a 7-0 lead.

The Mountaineers – which took a 16-0 loss in the opening game of the tournament against the host/No. 7-ranked Wolverines of Michigan – eluded another blanking 28 seconds later as Emily Van Kerckhove (Fr., Montgomery, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) beat Jacobson with a long-range shot to pull Mount St. Mary’s to within 7-1 heading into the break.

In the third quarter, Voss (7:36), Bradford (5:00) and Szucs (3:44) went back-to-back-to-back to build the lead to 10-1 prior to Rebecca Pendleton (Jr., Maple Glen, Pa./Upper Dublin) drilling in shots with 1:07 and 39 seconds on the clock to cap off a 5-0 surge in going ahead 12-1 with 24 minutes of game time completed.

The Red Flash executed another goalie switch before the start of the fourth quarter as Haley Sanko (So., Drums, Pa./Hazleton) came off the bench to relieve Jacobson for the final eight minutes.

Similar to the previous three quarters, the Saint Francis offense went to work as Williams (7:39), Pendleton (4:42), Szucs (3:11, man-up), Bradford (2:31) and Rivera (1:31) combined to cap off a 10-0 scoring run in the second half for the 17-1 finale.

For Mount St. Mary’s, Rebekka Williams (Gr., Poway, Calif./Poway/University of Hawaii) made seven saves in taking the loss between the pipes.

Rivera picked up the victory for the Red Flash with three saves in the first quarter.  Jacobson stopped five shots with a goal allowed in 16 minutes of work, while Sanko turned away a pair of chances in the fourth quarter.

On offense, Pendleton and Bradford both scored three times to join Szucs in posting hat-tricks.  Voss (two goals), Lang (one goal), Carter (one goal), Halbauer (one goal, two assists), Williams (one goal, one assist) and Rivera (one goal) also factored in front of the Mountaineers’ cage as SFU improved to 4-0 against Mount St. Mary’s.

The Red Flash previously topped the Mountaineers at Villanova University (17-7 W, March 6) in non-conference action prior to picking up 18-7 (March 21 at Saint Francis) and 19-5 (April 17, at Mount St. Mary’s) CWPA wins.

Thanks to the win, Saint Francis improves to 3-9 all-time at the CWPA Championship and claim their first “W” in a placement game.

In 2017 at Indiana under then head coach Pat Beemer, the Red Flash burned George Washington, 11-10, before falling to the University of Michigan (22-2 L), Indiana (16-6 L) and Brown University (12-3 L) to earn an Eighth Place finish in the nine-team field.  A year later with current head coach Jay O’Neil at Bucknell University in 2018, Saint Francis fell to Harvard University (11-3 L), the host Bison (16-4 L) and George Washington (12-6 L) to take Ninth Place.  In 2019 at Brown, the Red Flash dropped a game to Princeton University (12-3 L) prior to upending George Washington (11-7 W) and falling against Bucknell (13-8 L) to take sixth in a seven-team field.


1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q FINAL
Mount St. Mary’s University
0 1 0 0 1
Saint Francis University 4 3 5 5 17
Saint Francis Goals: Emese Szucs (4); Rebecca Pendleton (3); Julia Bradford (3); Madeleine Voss (2); Haiden Lang; Abbie Carter; Taylor Halbauer; Addison Williams; Rosalinda Rivera
Mount St. Mary’s Goals: Emily Van Kerckhove
Saves: Saint Francis – Rosalinda Rivera (3, 8 minutes), Heather Jacobson (5, 1 goal allowed, 16 minutes), Haley Sanko (2, 8 minutes) ; Mount St. Mary’s – Rebekka Williams (7)
Exclusions: Saint Francis – 5 ; Mount St. Mary’s – 6
Advantage Opportunities: Saint Francis – 3-for-6 ; Mount St. Mary’s – 0-for-5
Sprints: Saint Francis – 4-for-4 ; Mount St. Mary’s – 0-for-4
Cards/Misconducts: None
Officials: Alex Stankevitch, Igor Mernenko


2021 Collegiate Water Polo Association Division I Championship Third Place – Saint Francis University

2021 Collegiate Water Polo Association Division I Championship Fourth Place – Mount St. Mary’s University

Collegiate Water Polo Association