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Princeton Invite Provides Tough Competition for Wildcats
Julia Penkal

Feb. 13, 2012

PRINCETON, N.J. - In their first tournament of the season, the Villanova water polo team matched up against quality opponents this past weekend in the Princeton Invite. The `Cats resumed play on Saturday with a 0-3 record, with exhausting performances versus George Washington, Mercyhurst, Harvard and Princeton.

Although the final score didn't favor Villanova in any of the contests when the clock stopped, the valiant effort put on in all four quarters of each game would show success looms ahead.

Opening their 2012 campaign against Villanova, George Washington was able to upend the squad by a count of 15 to 7. The Colonials got off to a fast start in the morning contest, on Saturday, by earning a six-point margin at halftime with the score 8-2. G.W. controlled the pace since that mark, scoring 11 goals by the third quarter. The influx of scoring was too much for the Wildcats to overcome, as they only served up seven goals when it was all said and done.

Junior Julia Penkal led the way firing four goals into the net against the freshman goalkeeper for George Washington in her collegiate debut. The driver from Harleysville, Pa. had an ejection drawn as well. Coming up large for Villanova on both ends was Callan Edwards. The stand-out freshman posted two goals, two steals, an ejection drawn and a block. Also playing extremely well on both sides was Emily Ryan. Ryan notched one goal, one assist, two steals, two ejections drawn and a sprint won. Adding assists to their credit were Lauren Peachey, Sadie Dutcher and Elaine Resso. Lastly, but not to be overlooked, Elizabeth Clarke won three sprints.



Another school opening up to Villanova for the season was Mercyhurst. The Lakers, like the Colonials, got the early lead, drawing a 3-0 score at the end of the first. The halftime score read 5-2 and with a tenacious third, Villanova was at an 8-3 disadvantage. The rather close fourth-quarter deficit provided a chance for a strong comeback, although they couldn't culminate enough, as the score was booked at 9-4 in favor of the Lakers.

Hitting the target once again in strong fashion was Julia Penkal. With a six-goal performance on Saturday, the junior supplied the bulk of the offense for the `Cats as she rang in almost half of the 13 goals scored. Hannah Ishida and Lauren Peachey each had a goal and a steal. Keeping consistent with the first game of the day against George Washington, Callan Edwards contributed two assists and two steals. Emily Ryan, as well as Elizabeth Clarke, won two sprints and received a block to their name. After missing competition in their opening weekend on February 4th, Cara Clites earned an assist and an ejection drawn. Kristy Majetich played well on the defensive side, profiting with a steal.

In the second time around with Harvard this season on Sunday, Villanova couldn't end the streak that began in 2000. This loss is the 13th straight for the Wildcats against the Crimson since right before the start of the new millennium. Trouble finding their rhythm early on hurt them, as VU faced an 8-1 hole to start the second half. The final score was tabbed at 14-3, which marks their second double-digit loss this season. Aisha Price propelled Harvard to the win with her four tallies.

There were three goal scorers against Harvard, including Hannah Ishida, Sarah Armel and Julia Penkal. Delivering as usual, Penkal provided a goal, assist and steal. Other assist getters were Kristy Majetich and Emily Ryan. Defensive performers, such as Katie Hannigan (2), Lauren Peachey and Elaine Resso helped counter the attack by obtaining steals.

The second game on Sunday against the No. 20 Princeton Tigers had the same result in the win/loss column, but the `Cats didn't get discouraged after the outcome of their first three contests. After the first quarter, the score was tied 1-1 with the solid effort. "With no wins coming this weekend, it is something to hang our hat on", stated assistant coach Franco Pacheco. Princeton's offensive attacks in the final three quarters gave them a 9-2 advantage. The Tigers went on to win by the score of 11-2.

Sophomore Maddi Moore had a stellar performance in this one and the best of the year. With a 47.6 save percentage and ten saves to her credit, the transfer neared stopping more than half of the shots thrown to the target. Julia Penkal added another goal, which became her eighth in the Princeton Invite. Sarah Armel posted the second goal for Villanova. Hannah Ishida inserted a steal and two ejections on the stat sheet, while Sadie Dutcher tabbed two steals and an ejection drawn.

"This weekend was certainly a learning experience and it will be invaluable when league play begins."

NOTES: Hannah and Julia played well and showed leadership as upper classman... Callan Edwards had a breakout weekend, playing very well on both sides of the ball... Edwards was unable to play Sunday due to a concussion received during play Saturday... Emily Ryan showed huge improvement this weekend and really stepped up her defensive game... Maddi Moore has her best game of the season against Princeton.

Princeton Invitational Day 1 Scores:

Harvard 14 Bucknell 5

George Washington 15 Villanova 7

Colorado State 12 Brown 9

Villanova 4 Mercyhurst 9

Harvard 6 Princeton 9

Colorado State 9 Bucknell 7

George Washington 10 Brown 9

Mercyhurst 2 Princeton 10

Princeton Invitational Day 2 Results:

Bucknell 16 George Washington 8

Princeton 6 Colorado 5

Harvard 14 Villanova 3

Bucknell 9 Mercyhurst 3

Harvard 12 Colorado 7

Princeton 11 Villanova 2