BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Tori Wilson (Fr., Kitchener, Ontario/Grand River Collegiate Institute) scored four times with the duo of Zsofia Polak (Jr., Dunaujvaros, Hungary/Rudas) and Lena Kotanchyan (Fr., Moscow, Russia/Elk Island School #368) each accounting for pairs of goals as the No. 15-ranked Hawks of Hartwick College flew past the No. 20 Harvard University Crimson, 10-7, in the Third Place game of the 2017 Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship hosted at Indiana University’s Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center.
The third place finish continues a streak of recent luck by the Hawks (24-10, 8-3 CWPA) since 2009 as the team has placed third (2015), fourth (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016) and sixth (2012) over the past several seasons after appearing in the 2006 (first), 2007 (first), 2008 (second) and 2009 (second) title games.
Hartwick never trailed in the game as Wilson (3:56) and Harvard’s Michelle Martinelli (Sr., San Diego, Calif./Torrey Pines) (3:44) exchanged scores in the span of 12 seconds to make it one-all. The Hawks regained the lead at the 1:32 mark via a man-up strike by Kotanchyan off an assist from Wilson, but Harvard (15-14, 5-6 CWPA) answered with 14 ticks left on the first quarter clock when Eela Nagaraj (Sr., Los Altos Hills, Calif./Saint Francis) slipped in an even-strength chance to balance the scoreboard at two-all after eight minutes of action.
Wilson and Polak placed Hartwick in front to stay in the first 2:30 of the second quarter as Wilson finished a pass from Katie McKenty (Jr., Auckland, New Zealand/Takapuna Grammar School) on a man-up chance at 7:02 and Polak curled in a natural tally at 5:30 to make it a 4-2 game.
Harvard chipped the lead down to a single marker 70 seconds later when Martinelli tickled the twine with 4:20 until halftime, but back-to-back-to-back strikes by Polak (4:08, man-up off assist from Kotanchyan; 2:36, man-up) and Wilson (3:34, even-strength) provided Hartwick a four goal lead at 7-3.
The Crimson closed within three prior to the wane of the first half as Kristen Hong (So., Orinda, Calif./Miramonte) put away a six-on-five opportunity with 24 seconds on the clock to keep it a game at 7-4.
Harvard continued to shaved its deficit down further by the end of the first minute in the third quarter as Mathilde Ribordy (Fr., Quebec City, Quebec/Les Hydres de Quebec) cashed in on an assist from Martinelli at the 7:01 mark to move the Crimson within 7-5.
Wilson answered Ribordy’s even-strength score with a power-play conversion off a feed from Polak at 2:13 prior to Martinelli flushing another even-strength shot for Harvard at 1:23 to make it 8-6 at the conclusion of the third quarter.
The Crimson continued to creep closer as Zoe Osborne (Sr., Okotoks, Alberta/Edison) flushed an unassisted, even-strength strike 17 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it an 8-7 game.
Needing some offense to stave off the Crimson comeback try, Kotanchyan delivered by drilling unassisted man-up (6:00) and even-strength (51 seconds) tallies to provide the Hawks’ all they needed to escape with a 10-7 victory.
For Hartwick, Wilson (four), Polak (three) and Kotanchyan (three) accounted for all of the Hawks’ offense. Goalie Josette Santos (Jr, Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison) earned the win with 10 saves.
Harvard, which records its best finish of Fouth Place at the CWPA Championship in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) era of women’s varsity water polo play after prior fifth (2004, 2005), sixth (2003, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016), seventh (2001, 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014) and eighth (2006, 2007, 2010) marks after finishing third in 2000 during the year prior to the NCAA Championship beginning competition, received a hat-trick from Martinelli. Hong, Ribordy, Nagaraj and Osborne each scored once with goalie Cleo Harrington (Jr., Costa Mesa, Calif./Newport Harbor) suffering the loss with 10 saves.
|No. 20 Harvard University (15-14, 5-6 CWPA)
|No. 15 Hartwick College (24-10, 8-3 CWPA)||2||5||1||2||—||10|
Hartwick Goals: Tori Wilson (4); Zsofia Polak (3); Lena Kotanchyan (3)
Harvard Goals: Michelle Martinelli (3); Kristen Hong; Mathilde Ribordy; Eela Nagaraj; Zoe Osborne
Saves: Hartwick – Josette Santos (7) ; Harvard – Cleo Harrington (10)
Exclusions: Hartwick – 7 ; Harvard -11
Advantage Opportunities: Hartwick – 6-for-11 ; Harvard – 2-for-7
Sprints: Hartwick – 1-for-4 (3rd) ; Harvard – 3-for-4 (1st, 2nd, 4th)
Cards: YC – Harvard (Head coach Ted Minnis, 3:35 left in 4th Q)
Officials: Val Vasilchikov, Michael Goldenberg
Hartwick College’s Lena Kotanchyan defends a shot by Harvard University’s Zoe Osborne
Hartwick College’s Zsofia Polak shoots on Harvard University goalie Cleo Harrington as Mathilde Ribordy (#8) closes in