Women's Water Polo Visits Villanova to Start 2008 Season
Feb. 14, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington women's water polo team enters the water for the first time in 2008 Friday at Villanova. The Colonials then head to College Park, MD, for four games at the two-day Maryland Invitational.
GW split last year's series with Villanova, falling 7-6 in the final game of the Bucknell Invitational before rebounding for a 16-6 victory on the road a week later.
The Colonials battle Harvard and No. 15 Michigan on the first day of the Maryland Invite on Saturday. On Sunday, GW will face sixth-ranked San Diego State in the morning and rounds out the tournament with Siena in the afternoon.
GW Women's Water Polo 2008 Season Preview
The Colonials will rely on a much more balanced attack in 2008 due to the graduation of Morgan Hooker and Jenna Burnett, the program's career leaders in goals and assists, respectively. Senior drivers Greta Pedraza and Rebecca Stein will be counted on to pick up the scoring slack and lead the Colonials youthful offense. Pedraza is GW's leading returning scorer with 35 points on 21 goals and 14 assists in 2007.
Reed also will count on juniors Amy Moren and Luciana Maggiolo and sophomores Marissa Stamler and Bernadette Karandy at driver. The trio of Moren, Stamler and Karandy accounted for 48 goals and 18 assists last season. Moren and Stamler provide solid outside shooting to the offense, while Maggiolo and Karandy excel in igniting the counterattack. Rookie Erin Delker, who helped San Ramon Valley High to a North Coast Section title as a junior in 2005, and sophomore Rachel Wallace provide more depth at driver.
Sophomore Emily Chereson steps into Hooker's spot at two-meter set and will run Reed's offense. A former high school All-American, Chereson tied for the team lead with nine swim-offs won and led all rookies with 29 ejections drawn last spring. Freshman Melissa Sesana, who never lost a game and won a state championship in each of her seasons at Miami's Gulliver Prep High School, will back up Chereson at two-meter set.
Second-year performers Tara Sullivan and Sarah Fitch will be asked to do a little of everything, including fill Burnett's gap at utility. Sullivan had 23 points and added a team-high 24 steals and nine swim-offs won in her rookie campaign last year.
Senior Sarah Stimson returns to two-meter defense after pacing the Colonials with 41 steals in 2007. Stimson, who added 10 goals and four assists from her defensive slot last season, is a physical player who is difficult to score against. Sophomore Danielle Mayer, who also had 10 goals and four assists as a rookie last year, is another strong option at two-meter defense.
Senior goalkeeper Julie Jacoby enters her final season on pace to become the program's career saves leader. Jacoby shattered the single-season mark with 290 saves in 2007 and will have to produce another outstanding season for GW to compete for a CWPA Southern Division title. Freshman Charlotte Schou will spell Jacoby, who played all but two quarters in net last season.
The Colonials visit Villanova on Feb. 15 and follow up at the Princeton Invitational Feb. 16 and 17 to start the 2008 season. GW will compete at Maryland's Terrapin Invitational and the ECAC Championships in Lewisburg, PA, the next two weekends before opening CWPA Southern Division play against Maryland at Smith Center on March 12. The team makes its annual trip to California for the Claremont Invitational in mid-March, followed by five straight conference games to finish the regular season, including a home doubleheader with Bucknell and nationally ranked Princeton on April 12. Bucknell hosts this year's CWPA Southern Division Championships April 19 and 20, while Michigan hosts the Eastern Championships April 25-27.