February 11, 2007

Bears Sweep Remainder of Ivy Tournament, Including 11-4 Win Over Harvard

Feb. 11, 2007

Providence, RI - On the strength of three more commanding victories on Sunday, the Brown women's water polo team (3-0) swept its way to the Ivy Tournament Championship in dominant fashion. The Bears warmed up with a 15-6 win over Villanova, then storming to an 18-2 semifinal win over Dartmouth, a club team. To end the day, Brown rolled to an 11-4 victory over CWPA rival Harvard in the tournament championship.

Against `Nova in the morning, the Bears got going slowly, holding just a 5-3 lead after the first quarter. However, the Brown defense clamped down the rest of the way, allowing just three goals in the other three quarters while scoring 10. Senior co-captain Elizabeth Balassone (Los Altos, CA) led the Bears with four goals in the contest, also tallying an assist and three steals. Senior co-captain Caitlin Fahey (Seattle, WA) had team highs in assists with three and steals with five.

The semifinal match with Dartmouth proved to be a laugher, as Brown went up 6-1 in the first quarter and never looked back. Ten different Bears scored goals, with junior Alexis Blaxberg (Miami, FL) and sophomore Alexandra Ferguson (Seattle, WA) each scoring three to lead the team. Ferguson also had a team-high three steals, while junior Roxanne Palmer (Los Alamitos, CA) and freshman Sarah Glick (Bonita, CA) each had three assists. Freshman Stephanie Laing (Ann Arbor, MI) had six saves, also stopping a five-meter penalty shot.

The tournament's championship game brought the host Bears into another match-up with Harvard. In 2006, the teams played four times, with all but one game being decided by one goal. However, this contest was not as close, as Brown pulled away slowly for a seven-goal victory.

Freshman Lauren Presant (Poway, CA) opened the scoring 3:18 into the contest, followed 2:13 later by a quick reflex shot by Balassone in front for a 2-0 lead. Harvard got one back with less than a second remaining in the frame to cut the lead in half. Blaxberg scored one off a rebound from her own shot just under two minutes into the second quarter, but the Crimson answered back less than a minute later. Blaxberg scored again, this time with the Bears riding a man-advantage after an ejection, and senior co-captain Paige Lansing (Newport Beach, CA) put home a five-meter penalty shot to make the halftime score 5-2 in favor of the home team.

The third quarter was when Brown really put the game out of reach, scoring four goals to Harvard's one. Bruno tacked on two more in the final period for the final 11-4 score. Presant led the Bears with three goals, while Balassone, Blaxberg and Glick each adding two. Fahey and Laing keyed a solid defensive effort, with the former tallying five steals from her two-meter defense position and the latter stopping 10 of the 14 shots she faced.

With the opening weekend now behind them, the Bears will have just under two weeks to prepare for a home game with #14 Hartwick, the only team from the Northern Division ranked ahead of them in the CWPA Top 10 Poll.