The GW women’s water polo team lost 11-10 to Maryland in its thrilling inaugural varsity match at the Smith Center Wednesday.
The Colonials overcame a 10-4 deficit in the third of four seven-minute periods to challenge the Terrapins. GW will face Maryland again on the road Sunday.
The comeback was great, GW Coach Scott Reed said. The key was that the team never gave up.
Junior Heather Walenga scored five goals, including GW’s first ever with 1:28 left in the opening period.
Walenga also scored GW’s final goal to bring the Colonials within one with just more than a minute remaining. After a GW timeout, Walenga was called for an offensive foul with nine seconds remaining, turning the ball over to Maryland.
The end was too much to overcome, Reed said.
Nearing the end of the third period, GW freshman Kiersten Johnson scored the first of her three goals in a seven-minute span to begin the Colonials’ comeback. After a breakaway goal from Johnson, GW’s Andrea Philpot narrowed the Maryland lead to 10-7. Walenga’s second free-shot goal of the game made it 10-8, but Maryland’s Marcy Souza floated the last of her five goals over GW goalkeeper Deanna Fuller to give the Terrapins a 11-8 lead with under four minutes remaining.
GW and Maryland attacked each other from the beginning, both teams hitting the post on their first offensive possessions. Maryland led 3-2 after the first period despite hitting the post six times.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Mary Jo Warner, senior associate director of Athletics, officially opened GW’s season prior to the game.