BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Competing in its second MAAC trip to the state of New York, the VMI water polo team reached the 20-win mark for the season with wins over St. Francis (Brooklyn) and Villanova Saturday in Brooklyn, New York.
With the two wins, the Keydets secured a spot in the MAAC Tournament for the first time in program history. The tournament is slated for April 29-30 in Poughkeepsie, New York hosted by Marist College.
Junior Shelby Barkley broke the program's all-time mark for career goals as she put in nine goals between the two matches and now has 193 career goals, breaking Mackenzie Perkins' record of 191 from the 2012-15 seasons. She has logged 72 goals this season as she looks to break Celine Lazzaro's single season record of 93 goals from the 2013 campaign.
"I thought we played better with each quarter throughout our two games today," said VMI head coach Ryan Pryor. "I'm very proud of the way the team finished today and we're very excited to have clinched a spot in the MAAC tournament.
"I'd also like to congratulate Shelby Barkley on becoming the program's all-time leader in goals scored--setting a career record is a fantastic accomplishment, particularly for a junior."
Facing St. Francis in the morning, the Keydets (20-5, 9-2) and Terriers battled to a 3-3 tie after the opening period and 7-7 tie at the half. VMI refocused at the break and outscored St. Francis 4-0 in the third period and 2-1 in the final quarter to secure the win.
Needing just seven goals to tie the all-time mark, junior Shelby Barkley netted six goals in the win to lead the Keydets. Emma Noble and Bailey Huddleston each scored two goals while Cecilya Lundy, Sophia DelBondio, and Haley Scott registered the other scores.
Nicole Herrick scored three goals to lead the Terriers in the loss.
In a complete game, VMI freshman goalie Isabel French tallied four saves.
VMI 16, Villanova 11
The Keydets came out swinging against the Wildcats as they scored six goals to Villanova's three after the opening eight minutes. Ahead 9-7 at the half, VMI again broke away in the second half by tallying four goals to the Wildcats' two in the third quarter and finishing the match with three more scores for the final result.
Lundy and Huddleston joined Barkley with three goals during the match while DelBondio and sophomore Sarah Dolitsky each scored a pair.
French earned eight saves to preserve the win for the Keydets.
The Keydets travel to Staten Island for a Sunday matchup with No. 17 Wagner slated for a 2:30 p.m. start. VMI looks to avenge a close 10-8 loss to the ranked Seahawks last weekend at home.