Wolax Is On Sabbatical; Time For Water Polo: La Salle Women’s Lacrosse Week In Review 3/28/23


Nicholas Signoretta, Editor

La Salle Women’s Water Polo v. Charleston Women’s Lacrosse. (c. 2023 colorized)

With one foot already dipping into the pool of satirical nonsense after my most recent journalism effort, this week felt like a good time to harness whatever decency I had left in the tank to conjure up an article so ripe with incomprehensible garbage and gaslighting that it could be sighted whenever I am ultimately fired from The Collegian as one of its sports editors.  The following piece will feature no mention of one sport I have admitted having little to no knowledge about but will instead focus on a second sport that I cannot comprehend and have watched enough matches to still count on one finger (I did thoroughly enjoy the little bit I saw. Makes me wish we had more than one home weekend).

La Salle women’s water polo hosted the likes of Long Island University, Villanova, Virginia Military Institute, and Wagner this past weekend at La Salle’s very own Kirk Pool for some in-conference clashes.  The Explorers opened their weekend with a double-header on Saturday, March 25th.  The first fixture of the day featured the VMI Keydets (3-10, 0-3), a team that La Salle would end up dismantling by a scoreline of 17-6.  The Explorers opened the game with 6-0 run and would stretch their lead as far as thirteen goals when they took a 14-1 advantage late in the 3rd Period.  Shanna Zuanich paced La Salle’s offense with four goals while Hannah Woren clocked in three assists.  Emma Gurasich and Caitlin Valentine combined for eleven saves in net.

Paige Mitchell prepares to release a rocket in La Salle’s win over VMI. (courtesy of @lasallewaterpolo)

La Salle followed up their early game with another matchup just a few hours later as they faced off against the #17 Wagner Seahawks (22-5, 5-0).  The Explorers fell to the Seahawks just a week prior to the tune of 16-7, so this week’s matchup was a chance at redemption on home… water?  A dominant 2nd Period from Wagner saw the Seahawks take a 7-2 lead into halftime, but the Explorers used an offensive burst in the 4th Period to cut the lead to 13-10 with some time left on the clock.  Unfortunately, Wagner stymied La Salle’s remaining comeback efforts as the final score read 15-12 in favor of the Seahawks.  Francesca Co’ and Madelyn Koerper each turned in four goal performances, with Co’ also contributing two assists.  Gurasich stood strong in net, totaling twelve saves in the match.

Emma Gurasich extends to make a great save in La Salle’s loss to Wagner. (courtesy of @lasallewaterpolo)

La Salle wrapped up their homestand with a matchup against the Villanova Wildcats (13-13, 3-3) on Sunday, March 26th.  The game was also doubling as the Explorers’ Senior Day, so hopes were high to send the squad’s veteran out on a strong ending at Kirk Pool.  The matchup played out as a narrow and thrilling affair, with La Salle maintaining slim leads before Villanova would find an eventual equalizer.  Tragedy struck late in the 4th Period when the Wildcats took their first lead since the opening moments of the game to seize a 9-8 lead that would stand as the contest’s final tally.

Hannah Woren has her eyes set on goal in La Salle’s narrow loss to Villanova. (courtesy of @lasallewaterpolo)

La Salle (11-12, 1-4) continues their push for the MAAC Championship next week when they travel to Lexington, Virginia.  Their weekend will feature Saturday, April 1st matchups against the Siena Saints (4-16, 0-5) and the Iona Gaels (11-8, 3-2), while Sunday, April 2nd will see the girls take on the Marist Red Foxes (15-6, 5-0).  The Siena matchup will take place at 11:20AM EST, the Iona game at 6PM EST, and the Marist clash at 11:20AM EST.  Whether I will be reporting on these games is in question.  I like to keep my writing… unpredictable these days.

Water Polo starts season with 2-2 record again


Enrique Carrasco, Editor 

Courtesy of Go Explorers

The La Salle Explorers Water Polo team started the season on the road for the second season. Last year, the Explorers faced a four-game split, three of which were at Bucknell, having to face off against Bucknell, Mercyhurst, and Saint Francis, Pa. Eventually, they faced off against nationally ranked Princeton at home. This year, the Explorers traveled up to Brown University to play in the 2023 Bruno Classic, where they faced off against host team Brown, Gannon University, Saint Francis PA, and Harvard University. 

The Explorers (NV) opened their season on the road facing off against the 25th-ranked Brown University Bears. The game was off to a hot start, with the Brown Bears winning the game-starting swim-off and quickly converting to take an early 1-0 lead over the Explorers. Sophomore attacker Francesca Co, however, refused to let the Bears take the momentum and found the back of the net for her 50th Career goal as an Explorer, an outstanding feat considering she is only in her second year at La Salle. After this, the Bears went on a 2-0 run to finish the quarter 3-1.

The Explorers came into the second quarter full of energy, with Graduate Student Center Forward Madelyn Koerper finding the back of the net after a defensive effort from the Explorers. The Explorers, however, were not able to stop the offensive might of the Bears and gave up a 5-meter penalty shot, which the Bears converted, putting the Bears in a 4-2 lead. This penalty gave the Bears the first of their goals during a 3-0 run, which was only stopped by Francesca Co right before the half, cutting the Explorer’s deficit to 6-3 heading into the half. 

The third quarter of the contest was defensively dominated, with the Explorers allowing only one goal in the quarter, while failing to convert any power plays and scoring the only goal in the quarter. The Explorer’s only goal in the quarter came from Koerper once again toward the end of the quarter. 

The Bears maintained control and momentum throughout the 4th quarter, scoring back-to-back goals, which put the Bears up 9-4. The rest of the game was predominantly defense centered, with the Explorers only allowing one more goal in the quarter. The Explorers fell 10-4 against Brown. 

The Explorers then faced off against the Gannon Golden Knights. The Explorers managed to go on a 6-0 run, only stopped by a goal from the Golden Knights toward the end of the first quarter. The second quarter only saw two total goals, both of which came from the arm of Sophomore Francesca Co, who was able to convert a five-meter penalty shot as well as finding the top corner of the cage only two minutes later. The Explorers went into the half with an 8-1 lead. 

The second half of the game was a predominantly defense-controlled game. The scoring drought ended after a goal from Junior attacker Hannah Warren, followed by Senior team Captain Shanna Zuanich who was able to find the top right corner of the goal, putting the explorers up 10-1. The Explorers won the matchup 13-3.

The Explorers then traveled to Harvard University, where they faced off against ST. Francis PA, whom they defeated 9-6. The Explorers (NV) then faced off against (T-19) Harvard University, whom they lost 18-7 to. 

Although the team went .500 in their first weekend, there were mostly positive notes from the team. In a post-game interview, Francesca Co stated, “I think the most important thing is that even though we brought home two wins, which is a good start, we have to learn how to keep a clear mind during the game. Especially in the most difficult games, as was the case against Brown and Harvard, when fatigue starts to take over, we have to stay rational and play smart.” The girls were failing to win swim-offs against faster teams, and often the lack of subs by the coach made the game more difficult for the Explorers. The first weekend of games was the first test of the new head coach James Wolff. La Salle is Wolff’s first experience being the head coach of a Division I athletic program, and the lack of knowledge was apparent against nationally ranked teams. 

The team, however, is full of motivation and energy and seems poised to make a postseason run in the MAAC championships. It’ll be interesting to see how Sophomores Francesca Co as well Tatum Lomax, the youngest starters on the team, further develop in Divisional I athletics and how the coaching style might change depending on the opponent. Regardless, if this weekend of games is any indication of what is to come, the Water Polo team will find themselves battling for top positions within their conference.