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Women's Water Polo Opens with 3 Invitational Wins

Adriane P. Chapman--The Tech
MIT women's water polo players battle with Dartmouth during their 16-8 win Saturday afternoon at the Alumni Pool.

By Darren T. Castro
Staff Reporter

The women's water polo team opened its season by winning three of its four games at the MIT Invitational Women's Water Polo Tournament held this past weekend at the Alumni Pool. The women dropped their Friday night opener to Harvard by the score of 17­4, but rebounded to defeat Wellesley 10­6 and Dartmouth 16­8 on Saturday. The team finished by beating Wellesley again by a score of 8­7 on Sunday.

The MIT women were led by three veterans: Maroula Bratakos G, 7 goals and 6 assists; Cheryl Klepser G, 10 goals and 4 assists; and Amy Smith G, 4 goals and 4 assists. Two newcomers stood out among the team's nine first year players: Adriane Chapman '98, 5 goals and 3 assists; and Shan Lee '98, 7 goals and 2 assists.

The Engineers are next in action April 8 and 9 in a tournament in Amherst, Mass.

MIT fell behind quickly in its opener against Harvard and was never able to close the gap. Harvard led 5­0 after the first quarter before MIT got on the scoreboard with a 6-on-5 goal following a major foul against Harvard.

The teams then split the first 6 goals of the second half, after which Harvard led 8­4. Harvard notched one additional goal before the end of the third quarter and stretched its lead to 9­4. MIT emptied its bench and Harvard went on an 8­0 run to finish the game.

Solid goaltending brings victories

In Saturday's games, MIT combined strong offensive performances with some solid goaltending by Jeanette Chian '98. Against Wellesley, MIT scored on two of its first three possessions to take a quick 2­0 lead. However, Wellesley battled back to tally the next three goals and take a 3­2 lead. Bratakos pulled MIT even before the half by scoring on a 4-meter penalty shot.

MIT took over the game in the third quarter by scoring six unanswered goals. Wellesley tallied three of the game's last four goals to tighten the final score to 10­6.

The first quarter of the Dartmouth game was dominated by Bratakos and Klepser. Bratakos scored first with a 6-on-5 goal 28 seconds into the game following a pass from Klepser in the hole. Dartmouth then tied the score at 1­1 during a 6-on-4 advantage.

Klepser answered quickly with 3 straight goals. The first and third came in the hole following passes in from Bratakos. In between those possessions, Klepser stole the ball and swam it all the way in herself unassisted.

MIT notched the final goal of the first quarter to lead 5­1 when Emily Yeh G scored on a 2­1 breakaway with Klepser. MIT scored two additional goals to open the 2nd quarter before Dartmouth came back with four of the next five goals to cut the lead to 8­5 at halftime.

Dartmouth made things interesting by scoring the next goal on a 6-on-5 advantage to cut MIT's lead to two goals. However, MIT then put the game out of reach by scoring eight of the next ten goals to account for the final score of 16­8.

Chapman, with three goals and one assist, and Smith, who scored two goals, made key contributions during the run. Chian recorded 12 saves and played a strong game in goal, turning back point-blank shots by Dartmouth on several occasions.

Close final game against Wellesley

Sunday saw MIT establish an early lead only to see Wellesley close within one goal before falling short in its comeback attempt. MIT led 4­0 on the strength of single goals by Bratakos, Smith, Klepser and Lee. Good passing and ball movement created open shots against the Wellesley goaltender.

MIT sputtered a bit before halftime though, and Wellesley scored twice to cut the deficit in half. MIT then re­established their offense at the start of the second half and scored four straight goals to take an 8­2 lead.

However, Wellesley stormed back with five unanswered goals against MIT's substitutes. The regulars returned after the fifth goal with MIT clinging to a one goal lead with two minutes remaining in the game. Chian came up with a big save on a 1­0 breakaway with 33 seconds left that would have tied the game 8­8.

However, MIT lost control of the ball and Wellesley had one last chance with eight seconds remaining in the game. Following a timeout, the Wellesley players worked the ball to mid­pool where they tried to pass into the hole. Klepser tipped the entry pass away to Bratakos who swam to the corner, running out the clock and preserving the 8­7 victory for MIT.