Feb. 6, 2012
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - The Villanova water polo team delivered hard fought performances against all three of their competitors in New Rochelle, N.Y. on Saturday, February 4th to start the season, despite the outcome.
Playing its first game against Iona College in the morning, Villanova struggled against the team that swept the 2012 MAAC preseason polls with 48 points.
The match was close late in the third, with Iona leading 8-6. Although a scoring outburst, 8-1, put on by the Gaels became too strong for Villanova to overcome. This run sealed the game with the score of 16 to 7.
The `Cats had to face the Co-Players of the Year, according to the league's seven head coaches, in standouts Cecilia Leonard and Amy Olsen. Leonard contributed with two goals and two steals, while Olsen led the way scoring six. As expected, these two played extremely well and provided eight of the 16 goals scored.
Offense for the Wildcats came through a number of players, as there were seven goal scorers in the competition. The balanced attack included Julia Penkal, Hannah Ishida, Emily Ryan, Callan Edwards, Elizabeth Clarke, Sadie Dutcher and Sarah Armel. Penkal was masterful on the defensive side of play, locking up five steals in the meeting. Also posting steals for the club were Ishida, Ryan and Dutcher.
"Julia Penkal was our best offensive and defensive player."
In her first game for Villanova, sophomore transfer Maddi Moore provided a solid effort between the pipes. Moore racked up 12 saves to go along with three steals. A save percentage of 42.8 % was tallied.
The second game on Saturday was against Harvard. History doesn't favor Villanova in this matchup, as they have beaten them for the 11th time in as many tries since 2000. Defense for the Crimson held the `Cats to one goal on the score sheet. Harvard was able to score 13 in the contest and increase their win streak to 12 games.
Hannah Ishida registered the single goal in the meeting between the two teams. The Honolulu native also had two steals. Also establishing themselves on the defensive end was Callan Edwards, Elaine Resso, Emily Ryan and Sammy Salvo. Each picked up a steal.
In the final contest on the day, Villanova fell to New York Athletic Club (NYAC) in respective fashion. The game was extremely close for the first two quarters with the half time score being Villanova 4, NYAC 5.
Finding the back of the net were Hannah Ishida, Julia Penkal (2), Callan Edwards, Elizabeth Clarke and Sadie Dutcher. This was the third straight game that Ishida has posted a goal for the Wildcats. "She was the key component of the offense for the weekend and everything ran through her."
Elizabeth Clarke filled the stat sheet in this one, registering a goal, steal and two sprints won. "Liz played with a lot of hustle and played very aggressively."
"This weekend served as an excellent teaching tool. Anytime you go against nationally elite programs, there is a unique opportunity to really grow as a team."
Villanova will continue the regular season with its next four games in Princeton, N.J. for the Princeton Invite. The Wildcats look to bounce back from the early season woes next weekend.