No. 12 University of Maryland Holds Off No. 12 Princeton University, 7-6, in Potential Eastern Championship Title Game Preview
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Allison Campbell scored a game-high three goals, Nicole Tobin added two and CWPA Western Division leader No. 12 University of Maryland held off a late rally by Southern Division frontrunner No. 12 Princeton University for a 7-6 victory in a dawn match-up.
In a battle of teams ranked tied for 12th in the national poll, the Terps (15-4) won for the fourth straight time, but they made it interesting against the Tigers (21-4) who scored the final five goals of the game and had the ball with a chance to tie with under two seconds left.
Tobin's exclusion goal at 3:38 of the third and Campbell's goal less than one minute later gave Maryland a commanding 7-1 lead.
But Camille Hooks' goal with 42 seconds left in the third quarter and Molly McBee's tally 18 seconds later cut the deficit to 7-3 and gave the Tigers life entering the fourth.
"We played hard-nosed water polo early on," Maryland head coach Carl Salyer said. "We were attacking offensively, playing good defense and we had the counterattack going. But then we relaxed a little bit and played tentative offensively."
Down 7-4, Princeton scored a pair of goals in the final 1:26 of the game.
Katie Rigler scored for the second time in the game, an exclusion strike, with 36 seconds left to pull within 7-6, but the Terps were able kill most of the clock. A last-second shot by goalie Kristen Ward from the middle of the pool was blocked before it reached goalkeeper Shelby Reyes who had nine saves.
The Terps, who won for the fourth straight time over Princeton, were strong at both ends of the pool through almost three quarters. They scored the first three goals of the game, led 5-1 early in the third and blocked a number of the Tigers' shots before they even reached Reyes.
Campbell and Zoe Respondek contributed to the defensive effort with three steals apiece.
Despite the uneasiness of the final nine minutes of the game, Maryland picked up a key win against a team it could see in the postseason. Princeton is in first place in the CWPA Southern Division.
"Overall, it was a great win for us," Salyer said. "It could be important as far as seeding goes for the Eastern Championship."
The Terps have two regular-season games left before the CWPA Western Division Tournament (April 14-15) and the CWPA Eastern Championship (April 27-29).
Maryland and No. 9-ranked Michigan were tied for first in the division with perfect 4-0 marks entering the day. Following a 7-6 loss by the Wolverines to No. 14 Indiana University televised on the Big Ten Network at noon today, the Terrapins stand alone on top of the standings with a meeting against the Wolverines on the horizon.
The Terrapins and Wolverines will clash in College Park in seven days in the regular-season finale. The Terps, who have won 10 of their last 11 games, face divisional foe Salem International University at 4:30 p.m.
The match-up will have significant bearing on who earns the No. 1 seed for the Western Division Championship. A Maryland win over Michigan gives the Terps the outright Western Division regular season title and the No. 1 seed for the division tournament. However, a loss combined with the Terrapins winning their other league game against SIU would make the standings interesting and force tiebreakers as Maryland, Michigan and Indiana would all stand at 5-1.
In an early season league meeting at netural site Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., Maryland topped Indiana by a 9-8 final score. Combined with the Hoosiers' 8-7 victory over Michigan, Michigan will need to beat Maryland by two goals to win the division outright based on goal differential, with Maryland and Indiana following at No. 2 and 3, respectively, based on the Terrapins head-to-head victory over the Hoosiers. This works out that Michigan would be +1 (one goal loss vs. Indiana, two goal win vs. Maryland), Indiana would be at zero (one goal loss to Maryland, one goal win vs. Michigan) and Maryland would be -1 (one goal win vs. Indiana, two goal loss vs. Michigan). The goal differential is thrown out once Michigan claims the No. 1 seed and reverts back to head-to-head between Maryland and Indiana for the No. 2 and 3 seeds.
Per CWPA league policy, if the goal differential among all teams tied is the same, aka Michigan wins by one, the total of goals scored against each other is used. Indiana now stands at 16, following eight goal outputs against both Maryland and Michigan. Maryland is currently at 9 and Michigan 7, so a 10-9 victory by Michigan would not give the Wolverines the No. 1 seed since Maryland would have 18 goals to the Wolverines 17 to give the Terrapins the No. 1 seed, with Indiana and Michigan following in order based on their head-to-head results. To win the division No. 1 seed Michigan will need to win by two. If Michigan wins 9-7, and thus each team ends up with 16 total goals, it is a moot point as Michigan would win the goal differential tiebreaker at +1 before a total number of goals tiebreaker would be implemented.