Girls Water Polo Defeats Penn Charter in Opener

This past Saturday, the Lawrenceville Girls Varsity Water Polo team defeated the Penn Charter School in its first game of the season with a score of 14-8.

This past Saturday, the Lawrenceville Girls Varsity Water Polo team defeated the Penn Charter School in its first game of the season with a score of 14-8. Played in Lawrenceville’s home pool, the girls exhibited a strong initial game, displaying the new skills they learned in preseason.

Coming out of the gates sharp and ready to attack in numbers, Penn Charter opened the scoring in the first 20 seconds of the game. However, Lawrenceville did not get flustered and stuck to its gameplan. Juliette Peel ’22 put Lawrenceville on the board following a pass from Co-Captain Isabelle Monaghan ’20. Throughout the first quarter, Lawrenceville passed well, scoring most of its goals off of buildup and assists rather than fast breaks. Nonetheless, both teams had their chances, and Penn Charter scored off of a man up situation when Monaghan was excluded for committing a foul, but Lawrenceville rebounded and scored on its next offensive possession. Lawrenceville ended the first quarter up 4-3.

In the second quarter, goalie Fiona Pando ’21 came up with three big saves to maintain the lead for Lawrenceville. The first shot came, during a man up situation, from a Penn Charter skip shot taken outside of five meters, which Pando managed to jump at the right time to intercept the ball’s difficult-to-follow trajectory. The second and third happened consecutively, during which Pando blocked a perimeter shot, and then dove from one side of the goal to the other to save a rebound shot.

In the third quarter, Lawrenceville separated itself from Penn Charter, scoring four goals in the latter half of the quarter. Co-Captain Bettina Tapiero ’20 scored two of these four goals from her position of set, the closest player to the opponent’s goal and responsible for offensive progression. Tapiero separated herself from her defender twice in the last minute of the third quarter, scoring consecutive goals for Lawrenceville.

In the fourth quarter, Penn Charter began to violate simple rules regarding when and where the players were allowed to shoot and receive passes from, and Lawrenceville took full advantage of the opportunities these infractions presented. The first violation was a two meter violation, in which a Penn Charter player received a pass inside of the two meter zone, causing a turnover during which Vivien Schmitz ’20 scored in a counter attack. Halfway through the quarter, a Penn Charter player fouled Monaghan outside of five meters, allowing Monaghan the opportunity to shoot the ball without a defender, but also with no fakes. Monaghan took the shot and scored, putting Lawrenceville up 11-8. Penn Charter almost scored in another man up situation with three minutes to go in the quarter, but yet again violated the two meter rule, causing a turn over off of which Monaghan scored on a fast break from Pando’s pass ahead.

Following the team’s win, Tapiero said, “I was really happy with our performance. After the first quarter, the girls really found their stride and we started playing as a true team. The passing really helped [...] us score a lot of goals off of passing, not just on fast breaks.”

Next week, the team plays Episcopal Academy, one of its toughest competitors. Aside from defeating Episcopal, Tapiero said that another one of the team’s goals for the season is “winning [its] flight at Easterns again this year.” “As captains, Isabelle and I have also been working with the coaches a lot to incorporate the new players more and get them more playing time, because the best way to improve is to get real game play time,” she said.

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