Sports » Women's Water Polo

Third straight Southern Division championship comes for Princeton women

The women’s water polo team pulled off a three-peat today in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday. The Tigers (29-1 overall, 5-0 Southern Division) beat out Brown (18-5, 3-2) in Harvard’s home waters to win their third straight Southern Division championship.

Princeton started out its tournament against George Washington. The fifth-seeded Colonials (12-15, 2-3) were unable to stop the barrage of black and orange shots, allowing 14 goals in the first three quarters while unable to produce on offense. The Tigers took the match 16-2, with nine different Princeton players finding the back of the net during the game. Freshman two-meter defender Hannah Lapkin led the offensive charge, scoring four goals, while sophomore goalie Ashleigh Johnson posted 12 stops.

The Tigers continued their double-header that day against Ivy League rival Harvard, picking up a dominating 13-4 victory. The Crimson (14-18, 3-3) put up just two goals to the Tigers’ 12 in the first half. A trio of Princeton utility players shared the honor of having the most goals in the game, with sophomore Diana Murphy, junior Ashley Hatcher and senior Molly McBee each scoring three goals apiece. Junior utility Taylor Dunstan added five assists to the scoring effort, while defensively, Johnson made 17 saves and junior goalie CeCe Coffey put up two.

Princeton confidently entered the finals of Southerns, having already beaten Brown 11-6 earlier this month.  The Bears (18-15, 3-2) never managed to hold a lead throughout the matchup. Senior Kate Rigler dominated the scoring effort with five goals, while Murphy again made the leaderboard, scoring two goals. Johnson again stopped 12 balls from finding the back of the net.

This is the just the second time in Princeton women’s water polo history that the team has won three straight Southern Division titles. The last time a Tiger team earned that honor was the 2004-2006 run.

“Each year has been different,” Coffey said. “But this season teamwork and flexibility have definitely been the keys to our success. We put a lot of time this fall into getting to know each other in and out of practice, and it pays off when we’re able to work together in the big games to adjust to whatever the other team throws at us. At (the Eastern Championships), we expect the games to be just as exciting and challenging as they were in 2012 and 2013. As one of the top seeds, we’re also looking forward to the chance to defend our title and earn a trip to the NCAA elite eight at USC!”

No. 10 Princeton has lost just one game this season, to then-No. 10 San Jose State while the then-No. 8 Tigers were on their spring break trip in California. Last year’s Eastern Championships included a semifinal thriller against Hartwick, when the Tigers barely edged out 12-11 double-overtime victory before sealing the title against Michigan in a 7-5 win.

The Tigers await the announcement of seeds and play schedule for the CWPA Eastern Championship in late April, hosted by Bucknell University.

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