Miami claims water polo title
Special to The Observer
The Miami of Ohio Redhawks reclaimed their Midwest Conference Championship in women's water polo at Rolfs Aquatics Center this weekend, but not with as much ease as expected.
The anticipated match-up between defending champion Notre Dame and perennial power Miami was much closer than predicted. Miami had won the two regular season contests handily and was expected to come out on top. The two teams dominated early in tournament action, as the Irish cruised by Western Michigan, 13-3, and then posted an 8-5 win against Bowling Green. In the semifinals, the Irish stopped Miami B 13-3, setting the stage for the climactic finish.
Miami came out strong, and steadily built a 9-3 lead midway into the third quarter. Lauren Kuzniar then led a spirited Irish comeback and Jen Beranek's late goal knotted the score at 12, forcing overtime. The Irish spirit was not quite enough to take the win, however, as Miami scored twice to prevail 14-12. The club will now travel to Ann Arbor for next week's Midwest Division Championships. The winner at Michigan will qualify for the NCAAs.
The Irish men's ultimate team continues to improve against top national competition, as was evident in this week's Great Lakes Open. In the opening round, Notre Dame beat Texas, 13-4, as Mike Shiel neutralized the Longhorn attack with tight man defense. The Irish played an oppressive zone defense, made possible by Cory Padesky's trapping mark, which forced many turnovers throughout the tournament. Paul Meier's defense and Steve Hempkens midfield play led to wins in the next two rounds over Oberlin, 13-12, and Northwestern, 13-8. The Irish then stumbled against No. 11 Michigan 12-8, before rebounding with victory over Indiana 15-4. Despite Paul Sheperd's strong offensive performance, the Irish dropped the semifinal game to No. 4 Wisconsin, 15-11.
Competing in the national championships, the men's volleyball team posted a record of 2-5 for the weekend. In opening round action, Penn narrowly defeated Notre Dame, 16-25, 35-33, 18-16. Notre Dame then fell to Cal State-Sacramento 25-14, 25-13. After dropping another tight three game contest to Tennessee, 25-18, 20-25, 16-14, the Irish defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 25-23, 25-19. A third match that could have gone either way saw Notre Dame lose yet another close match to Colorado State 25-20, 17-25, 15-12. The netters closed the tournament by splitting their last two contests, beating Army before succumbing to Wisconsin.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 11, 2000