April 20, 2008

#20 Brown Shuts Out Harvard, Narrowly Falls to #14 Hartwick to Finish Second at Northerns

April 20, 2008

Utica, NY - Behind strong offensive performances from senior Alexis Blaxberg (Pinecrest, FL) and sophomore Lauren Presant (Poway, CA) and solid team defense in support of sophomore goalie Stephanie Laing (Ann Arbor, MI), the #20 Brown women's water polo team (14-14) shut out Harvard, 9-0, and had its closest loss to #14 Hartwick in four years, 16-13, to finish second at the Northern Division Championship at Utica College.

"Stephanie Laing played great in both games, as did Alexis Blaxberg to lead us in goals in both," said Head Coach Felix Mercado. "Now that we're getting ready for Easterns, our outstanding play this weekend should give us some momentum."

The three-goal loss to the Hawks in the championship game, is Brown's narrowest margin of defeat to that team since 2004, when the teams went to overtime in the ECAC Championship game, which Hartwick eventually won, 7-6.

The Bears threw everything they had at the Hawks, taking a 4-0 lead and ending the first quarter up 5-2. Hartwick came back to tie the game at 5-5, but three more Brown goals made it 8-5. However, the Bears could not hold on, as Hartwick scored the final goal of the second quarter for an 8-6 halftime score, then outscored Brown 6-2 in the third and 4-3 in the fourth for the final 16-13 score.

Blaxberg had five goals to lead the Bears, followed by Presant with three. Sophomore Sarah Glick (Bonita, CA) had two goals and four assists, while freshman Katherine Stanton (Danville, CA) had a pair of goals herself. Senior Emily Schwartz (Miami Beach, FL) also had a goal. Laing made 11 saves in the cage.

Hartwick's Kirsten Hudson had seven goals in the contest to lead all players.

Earlier in the day, Laing made eight saves to pick up her second career shutout. Her previous blanking was at the 2007 Northern Division Championship, as the Bears beat Utica 21-0. Blaxberg had four goals to lead the team, followed by Presant with three. Junior Rory Stanton (Danville, CA) and freshman Joanna Wohlmuth (Manhattan Beach, CA) had one goal each, as the Bears clinched a bid to next weekend's Eastern Championships.

Easterns will be held at the University of Michigan this year. Seedings for the tournament will be determined on Monday. #11 Michigan and #18 Indiana qualified from the Western Division, as the Wolverines beat the Hoosiers 11-3 for their division title. Princeton upset #20 Bucknell 10-9 in overtime to win the Southern Division Championship, and both of those teams have qualified as well. Third-place finishers Harvard, Maryland, and Mercyhurst will be considered for the two wild card spots to fill out the Easterns field.