#8 Women's Water Polo Advances To NCAA Quarters

Rachel Krieger (photo by KeithSanpeiPhotos.com)
Rachel Krieger (photo by KeithSanpeiPhotos.com)

STOCKTON, Calif. - Rachel Krieger powered the No. 8 Pacific women's water polo team into the NCAA Quarterfinals with a four-goal performance in the Opening Round as the Tigers defeated No. 25 Pomona-Pitzer, 11-5, Saturday at Chris Kjeldsen Pool. The win was the program's first NCAA win in the Tigers' first appearance.

Pacific's defense was a strength throughout, as the Tigers held the SCIAC champion Sagehens to 19 shots to the Tigers' 33 attempts. Pacific's offense took a quarter to get going as the game was tied 1-1 late in the first quarter until Mariana Duarte's shot from six meters out when off the hands of the Sagehens' keeper Ahsha Earwood and trickled over the line for a 2-1 lead after one.

The Tigers then scored four in the second quarter to seize control and tacked on four in the fourth quarter to wrap up the team's 21st win of the season. Pacific's 21-8 record ties for the second-most wins in program history.

Krieger opened the second quarter with a backhand goal on Pacific's first possession, and Duarte stole a pass and scored on a breakaway for a 4-1 Tiger lead. Pacific goalie Alexis Hollinrake nearly scored her first career goal, on a restart, but her pump-fake before firing the ball the length of the pool nullified the opportunity to score directly. The Sagehens picked up a goal on a five-meter penalty shot from Morgan McCracken on their next possession, but Krieger finished cross-cage on the Tigers' next possession to restore a three-goal lead. Viktoria Tamas finished to the upper corner for a 6-2 lead at halftime.

Kreiger and Hope Grant traded goals in the third, and Pacific pulled away in the fourth. Hollinrake set-up Tamas for a goal in transition for an 8-3 lead. Karolina Hlavata scored on a skip-shot from distance, and Krieger's fourth goal was ripped from five meters away for a 10-3 lead with 4:13 to go.

Natalie Hill capped a power-play for Pomona-Pitzer with 4:00 left, but Kennedy Watson drew two defenders and passed off to an open Truly Dorland who picked her spot and hit the back of the net for an 11-4 lead. The Sagehens added a power-play goal with four seconds left to round out the scoring.

Hollinrake finished with six saves, two steals and two assists to earn the win. Krieger's four-goal performance was her third four-goal game this season and eighth of her career.

Earwood tallied 12 saves for Pomona-Pitzer, and also added a steal. The Sagehens, making their seven NCAA Tournament appearance, wrap the season at 17-19.

Pacific advances to the quarterfinals in Indianapolis where the Tigers will face No. 2 Stanford on Friday at Indiana Natatorium at 12:30 p.m. PDT.