The Carleton Ravens women’s water polo team was narrowly defeated by their rivals, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, in the 26th annual Carleton Invitational Tournament Oct. 3-6.
The Ravens are defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) champions, a title they earned after beating the Varsity Blues in the finals last season.
Although they won every other game in the tournament, the Ravens couldn’t secure the victory against the Blues Oct. 6 in their final game of the tournament, losing 8-6.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Ravens player Veronica Rojas said, before the game.
She said the rivalry between the two teams began when they faced each other two years ago in the OUA finals.
The Blues won in 2012 and Carleton won in the last season.
This game was the first time the two teams faced each other this season.
Within the first few minutes of the game, the Ravens opened the scoring. U of T quickly responded with a goal of their own, which evened out the game.
By the end of the third quarter, U of T had gained a 6-3 lead over the Ravens, but it did not last long. Going into the final seven minutes of the game, Carleton’s Meaghan Broddy said the team gained a lot of motivation.
“It was definitely our coaches,” Broddy said. “They were like, ‘We have nothing to lose at this point. Take a breath and do what you can because we still have the 4th quarter.”
With three minutes left in the game, the Ravens scored three goals, tying the game 6-6. However in the last two minutes, the Blues scored two goals, snatching the 8-6 victory.
“It was a challenging game and the athletes did what was asked of them,” co-head coach of the Ravens, Victoria Peters, said. “We had a few breakdowns in defense and Toronto monopolized on it but it’s to be expected.”
Peters said invitational tournaments such as this one take place throughout the season but do not count in the standings or for points. The only tournament that counts for points is the OUA Championships, taking place Nov. 29-Dec. 1, in Toronto. Although losing nearly half of their players from last year, Broddy said the team still has high hopes going into the OUA’s.
“I think we have a really different team dynamic,” she said. “We’re going to have to really work in getting to know each other but if we really set our minds to it we can do just as well as we did last year.”
When the Ravens do face the Blues again, Peters said they will be prepared.
“They use certain plays that we can now teach our girls how to defend against,” she said. “We were a little bit more cohesive in other games but . . . we know exactly what we need to change and what will happen.”