Wildcats Struggle to Claim Victory in Princeton, N.J.
Feb. 27, 2012
PRINCETON, N.J. - The Villanova water polo team journeyed to Princeton this weekend for a second stint at DeNunzio Pool. The Wildcats went up against stiff competition in George Washington, Harvard, Bucknell and host Princeton. The squad now falls to 0-11 on the season after failing to collect a win in the MAAC/East Challenge.
In the first game of the weekend on Saturday, Villanova competed with George Washington. This game marks the second showing between the two teams. The Colonials defeated the Wildcats in the first battle by a score of 15-7. A fast start on February, 11th by G.W. in the Princeton Invitational helped them to protect their lead, as the Colonials had an 8-2 margin at halftime. On this second rendezvous, the game was tied for much of the first half. G.W. took the lead into half after Katherine Berry scored to make it 5-4. A strong push by George Washington, outscoring Villanova 6-1 in the second half, lifted the club by a count of 11-5.
Junior Hannah Ishida led the way for the Wildcats. The product from Honolulu, Hawaii netted three goals, posted two assists, recorded a steal and had two ejections drawn in the contest. Also scoring for Villanova was Callan Edwards and Sarah Armel. Returning from a concussion two week ago, Edwards had a goal, assist and field block, while Armel had one goal and an ejection drawn. Sadie Dutcher contributed with an assist, steal and three ejections drawn.
The streak continues for Harvard as they upended the `Cats on Saturday evening by 14 goals. Solid play on the defensive side of the ball boosted the Crimson to a 9-0 halftime advantage. The halftime deficit proved to be too much for the `Cats to match in the second as they lost 15-1. This loss stands as the third straight for Villanova in the 2012 campaign and the loss goes down as the 14th in a row since in 2000. In those three games against the Crimson, Villanova has scored only five goals, while Harvard has been able to register 42 tallies.
Scoring the only goal for Villanova was freshman Elaine Resso. The lonely goal was significant for Resso as it was the first of her collegiate career. Achieving a noteworthy accomplishment as well this season was senior Sarah Armel who earned her first sprint win of the year. Supplying strong defensive pressure were three Wildcats. Armel notched two steals and a field block. Freshman Callan Edwards and junior Elizabeth Clarke had one steal apiece. Maddi Moore recorded seven saves in the contest.
On Sunday morning, Villanova faced Bucknell for the first meeting between the two teams since February 2009. Also extending a winning streak to 14-games over the Wildcats, the Bison earned a 5-1 halftime lead. After three quarters of play, it was a six-goal disadvantage for the `Cats. Villanova outscored Bucknell in the final quarter (4-3), but needed five more goals to even the game up. The final score was booked at 11-6.
Registering multiple goals were upperclassmen Elizabeth Clarke and Lauren Peachey with two apiece. Each complimented their offensive attack with a steal. Callan Edwards provided effort in five statistical categories, including goals (1), assists (1), steals (1), ejections drawn (1) and field blocks (1). Julia Penkal had one goal and two steals, while Hannah Ishida contributed with one steal and was dominant in hole set positioning with an impressive six ejections drawn.
Villanova wrapped up the four-game weekend with undefeated No.18 Princeton (13-0 overall). The Wildcats never led in the second game between the two schools this season, but found a way to keep the game close all four quarters. A seven goal showing, put on by the blue and white, was tied for the second highest output against the Tigers this season. Only Gannon scored more than seven in the Bucknell Invitational with eight goals. Just three goals separated the teams after the third, although Princeton did not allow for a late run to end the game. The Tigers poured on 11 goals in the contest to override the remarkable productivity from the `Cats.
Julia Penkal was the leading scorer with two goals as the junior returns back to form. There were five other players to strike the net for the balanced offensive attack. Hannah Ishida, Sarah Armel, Lauren Peachey, Sammy Salvo and Elizabeth Clarke all notched a goal. Callan Edwards received an assist and steal, while Cara Clites picked up two steals. Maddi Moore registered ten saves, which is the third time in 2012 where the transfer goalie had double-digits in that category.
Hannah Ishida leads the team in points with 15. Following close behind are Julia Penkal (14) and Callan Edwards (10). Despite a concussion, Edwards has had a tremendous rookie season thus far and is poised for an excellent finish. Even though Julia Penkal only scored three times this past weekend, the former Offensive Player of the Week still ranks as the top spot on the team in goals scored with 12. Also, Penkal is the only Wildcat to earn double-digits in steals (11) on the year.
"We showed a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball this weekend. Our team is certainly growing and moving in the right direction. We are much more concerned with that growth than our record. Our goal has always been to make it to the MAAC tournament and once MAAC play begins, you will see a team ready to win."
The duo of Ishida and Penkal seem to be filling the void in scoring for the former seniors Nicole Lum and Kathleen Maloney that graduated last year. Once again seeking the first win, the Wildcats will travel to Loudonville, N.Y. this weekend to play Siena (9:00 a.m.) and Utica (10:30 a.m.).