Students gathered on Friday, Nov. 11, at the John W. Hart Building swimming pool to watch a competitive women’s water polo match between the two top-ranked teams in the league. The Spartans came in as the number one seed and the Knights came in as the second.
In the first quarter, both teams started off trading goals. The Knights took the lead when Niah Thompson scored a long-range effort that put them up 3-2. The Spartans swiftly replied with a third goal of their own. The Knights scored two more goals before the clock expired, including one from the halfway line by Sarah Brown.
The second quarter began with a pass from the Knights’ defense being picked off by Elisa Bailey of the Spartans. The Spartans then forced a shot clock violation and scored shortly after to make it 5-4. The Knights narrowly kept their lead after several saves from their goalkeeper before the Spartans opted for a timeout. The Knights grabbed another goal, going into halftime with a 6-4 lead.
The second half began with another Knights goal, putting them up 7-4. The Spartans answered with a shot into the top right corner from forward Emberly Jurgens. Later in the third quarter, the Spartans goalkeeper made a save in a one-on-one situation to keep the gap at two goals. Both keepers made several saves and the defense held firm with the third quarter ending 7-5, in favor of the Knights.
In the fourth quarter, the Spartans scored three goals in the first five minutes — with their defense holding firm. Deadlocked at 8-8 with one minute left, neither team could score, forcing overtime.
“I knew that we would have to play our best to beat this team,” said Knights player Georgia Frazier, a sophomore studying business finance. “We knew what we had to do, and this game was always going to be a tough one”
In the first period of overtime, both teams had many shots on goal and the goalkeepers made important saves. Each team hit the post once. The Knights even had a goal taken back for an infraction.
The second overtime period began with the Spartans hitting the post yet again. The two teams battled back and forth until, with just over a minute left in the match, the Spartans took a timeout to make a plan. However, the Spartans effort on goal was saved.
With just 32 seconds left, the Knights player Niah Thompson, scored her sixth goal of the night. This put the Knights up 9-8. The Knights held on for the remaining seconds and came out on top.
“I just told them to give it all they’ve got and that if we did everything we can that they would get the win,” said Knights coach Ammon Nelson, a junior studying computer science.
The playoffs begin next week. To find the schedule for these upcoming games click here.