ERIE, Pa. – After sweeping the first day of competition, the VMI women's water polo team registered a split on day two Sunday at the Mercyhurst Invitational in Erie, Pennsylvania.
In an early 8:45 a.m. match, the Keydets took a 15-8 loss to Bucknell before rebounding in the early afternoon with a 16-11 victory over host Mercyhurst.
Bucknell 15, VMI 8
The Bison jumped out to an early 6-3 lead after the opening period and extended the advantage to 9-4 by the half as the Keydets struggled to keep pace.
VMI logged scores from Sarah Dolitsky, Emma Noble, Shelby Barkley and Natalie Rivas in the first half but the Bison's Marta Considine tallied three goals on her own to keep Bucknell ahead.
Although Barkley managed a goal for the Keydets in the third period, the Bison put the game out of reach with four goals to enter the final period with a 13-5 lead.
Barkley, Noble, Rivas and Dolitsky each scored two goals in the game for the Keydets in the loss. Emma Perez, Caroline Wojtas and Madison Curran were credited with shot attempts during the course of the match.
VMI 16, Mercyhurst 11
The Keydets employed a balanced attack against the Lakers to slowly pull away and earn the 16-11 victory over the host institution in a 12:30 p.m. match.
VMI gained a 3-2 advantage after the first quarter following goals from Perez, Cecilya Lundy and Rivas. The Keydets earned a little bit of breathing room in the second quarter by scoring four goals to Mercyhurst's two and logging a 7-4 lead by halftime. During the period, the Keydets received goals from Sophia DelBondio, Curran and Lundy to increase the VMI lead.
The Keydets would score five goals to the Lakers' four in a high-scoring third period. After VMI scored three straight goals in the middle of the quarter, Mercyhurst responded with two but Barkley shifted the momentum back in VMI's favor with a goal with one second remaining to put the score at 12-8 for the Keydets.
VMI extended the lead to 16-8 with only two minutes remaining but allowed three late Mercyhurst goals to make the final score 16-11. DelBondio, Dolitsky and Rivas put in the insurance goals for the Keydets early in the period before the Laker rally to end the match.
The Keydets return to action on Saturday, March 4, for a single home dual against George Washington. The match is slated for a 4 p.m. start at Clark King Pool.