Seattle, WA -- The #8 University of Washington Women's Water Polo Club A team went 4-0 this past weekend in Corvallis, Oregon to start Northwest Division play in the Collegiate Water Polo Association.
The first tournament of the year for the division was hosted by Oregon State University at the Osborn Aquatic Center, in Corvallis, OR, where the Huskies increased their division win streak to 32 games and in the process outscored their opponents this past weekend, 70-5.
The offense over the weekend was lead by captains, Karli Stone (#4, Tacoma, WA) and Mary Elizabeth Ward (#6, San Rafael, CA) with 22 and 15 goals respectively along with a combined 23 assists. In addition both players led the team in steals with 18 and 13 to aide first year goalie, Shelby Smith (#1, San Diego, CA) who in addition to earning a shutout, had 40 saves for the weekend.
The "A" team set the tone for the weekend, with a 17-2 drumming of Portland State in their first match. Almost every player scored in the game while Stone and Ward both led with 5 and 6 goals, along with 6 and 4 steals, to earn co-players of the game.
Next up for the Huskies, was Western Washington University. Once again the Huskies, showed they were in fine form by not only scoring 19 goals, but earned a shutout as well with 16 steals and 9 saves from Shelby Smith. Stone led the offense with 9 goals on 12 shots and 4 assists to earn player of the game.
For their third match of the tournament, the Huskies squared off against one of the teams that has always provided strong competition in the Northwest, Oregon State University A. The Huskies walked away with a 7-2 win. Although a low scoring affair, with the Huskies offense stagnating in the second half after scoring 5 in the first two quarters, the Dawgs' defense always kept the game in control by only allowing 1 goal in each half with 15 team steals and 10 saves by Smith.
For the last match of the tournament, A team squared off against. UW B's rival, University of Oregon B. Once again, the Huskies dominated the match from beginning to end by only conceding 1 goal while scoring 27. Offense and defense for the game were led by newcomer, Frances Dizard (#3, Seattle, WA), who scored 5 goals on 6 shots and claimed 6 steals to earn player of the game honors.
Meanwhile the University of Washington B team had a much tougher weekend with two of their three matches being against two of the top teams in the division, Oregon State University A and Oregon A; with another game having to be against their main rival, Oregon B.
Despite, going 1-3 for their first CWPA tournament of the year, B team showed that this might be their best team yet.
Long gone are the blowouts of previous seasons. Veterans along with several newcomers added, have shown that this team will be competing all season long.
First up for B team, was a tough match against Oregon State University A. Despite putting up a solid defense with 7 saves and 5 team steals, the B team wasn't able to find their offensive spirit and lost 2-12.
Next was a new and improved Portland State team that took a 5-1 lead in the first quarter that the Huskies were never able to come back from, despite their second half surge and went down 7-11. But bright spots included 11 saves from goalie, Annie Shoemaker (#1, Seattle, WA) as well as 3 goals, 1 assist, 3 ejections earned and 2 steals from newcomer, Hannah Sokol (#19, Arroyo Grande, CA).
After two tough losses, the UW B team bounced back with a 13-10 win over rival, Oregon B in a game that included goals from 7 different players, including 5 from attacker, Sophia Ko (#13, Puyallup, WA).
Finally, in what would be their toughest opponent of the tournament, UW B fought hard against Oregon A but came up short in a 9-17 loss, with goals coming from 6 different players, and a whopping 12 saves from Shoemaker.
Despite 1-3 showing, the Huskies showed they can hang with anyone in the division.
Coaches Rudy Ramirez and Danny LePard were extremely happy with the weekend's outcomes for both teams. "This was a solid start for the A team, but we still have more work ahead as we continue to build our offensive identity," said head coach Rudy Ramirez. "As far as our development team goes, couldn't be happier with their effort in the face of a very tough weekend. These ladies have a big year ahead of them."
Huskies are back at it again, next month March 9th and 10th as they continue their dominance in the Northwest Division at the #2 CWPA tournament this time hosted by the University of Oregon in Springfield Oregon. Those matches will be streamed live by the CWPA. Stay tuned for details.