The GW women’s water polo team overcame a slow first quarter to defeat the University of Maryland 13-4 behind an explosive second quarter Wednesday night at the Smith Center. The Colonials scored six goals in the second quarter, putting the game out of reach for the Terrapins.
GW was led by a balanced offense throughout the game, as it has been all season. Eight different Colonials scored goals. Sophomore Ashley Pyka scored three goals, and senior co-captain Heather Walenga scored two. Freshman Mia Fabian also earned two goals. Coach Scott Reed said a balanced attack makes the Colonials tough to defend.
The Colonials started off the game slowly, as the Terps got on the board first – their only lead of the day. Maryland’s Jamie Mahkorn scored at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter giving the Terps a 1-0 lead.
Four minutes later GW’s Andrea Philpot scored to tie the game at one apiece. The Colonials took their first lead of the game on a goal by junior Nell Friar with 1:29 left in the first quarter. The Colonials never looked back.
The first quarter was marred by a number of missed opportunities and ejections. Walenga had a chance to put the Colonials on the board in the first period, but missed a penalty shot. The quarter ended with GW leading 2-1.
Reed said he was unhappy with how his team played in the first quarter.
“The first quarter (they played with) just a lack of concentration,” he said. “They were just going through the motions instead of putting the effort into it.”
Pyka, who scored a team-high three goals, said the team was nervous, which may have contributed to a lackluster first quarter.
“Since it was a home game and we had a big crowd I think everyone was a little nervous,” Pyka said. “I think in the first quarter we definitely played down to their level. We need more shooting accuracy. We missed easy goals and I know a lot of it was just nerves.”
The GW win keeps the team in second place, and Fabian said she believes the team can play with anyone in the league.
“We can take the best team in the East if we just play like we know how to,” Fabian said.