Alison Nunziata (Brooklyn, NY/Bishop Kearney) captured her second individual win of the season touching the wall in 1:22.24 in the 100 yard individual medley. The sophomore co-captain also anchored the 200 freestyle relay team that secured the overall win for St. Joseph’s.
Sophomore co-captain and freestyle specialist Kristen McMaster (Brooklyn, NY/Fontbonne Hall) continued her dominance, winning both the 50 yard and 100 yard freestyle events. McMaster missed out on a third win, finishing just behind Nunziata in the 100 yard individual medley.
Sophomore Catherine Muldoon (Brooklyn, NY/Fontbonne Hall) earned her first career individual victory, winning the 200 yard freestyle and swam the third leg 200 freestyle relay.
Freshmen Olivia O’Hara (Brooklyn, NY/Fontbonne Hall) and Nicolle Velez (Brooklyn, NY/Archbishop Molloy) continued their strong rookie campaigns. O’Hara earned her first win in the 200 yard individual medley, swimming a season-best 2:58.99, and finished in second in her other two events. Velez won both the 50 yard and 100 yard butterfly, swimming a season-best 35.66 in the shorter distance, her fourth win in that discipline.
Mount Saint Vincent jumped out to an early 24-9 lead winning the first two events before victories by O’Hara and McMaster in the 200 yard IM and 100 yard freestyle cut the deficit to 36-32. The Dolphins dominated the 50 yard backstroke, seizing the top three spots, and won the 50 yard breaststroke to build their largest lead of the meet, 64-42.
However, Mount Saint Vincent had no swimmers in the 100 butterfly allowing St. Joseph’s back into contention and McMaster’s victory in the 50 yard freestyle cut the deficit to one. The Dolphins pulled away again with a strong showing in the 100 yard backstroke, but the Lady Bears responded with a 1-2 finish in the 100 IM from Nunziata and McMaster. Both took over the top two spots in the final 25 yards, with McMaster gaining second over Danielle Murphy of MSV by four hundredths of a second.
St. Joseph’s finally closed the gap behind Muldoon’s two second victory in the 200 yard freestyle which drew both teams even 99-99 and Velez’s victory in the 50 yard butterfly gave St. Joseph’s their first lead of the meet, 113-103, entering the final break.
A Mount Saint Vincent win in the 100 yard breaststroke cut the Lady Bears lead to only five points headed into the final 200 freestyle relay. A win would clinch the overall victory for St. Joseph’s while Mount Saint Vincent needed a win and no worse than a third place finish by their second relay team.
After the 50 yards of the relay, the Dolphins held a tenth of a second lead, but Velez swam a 29.53 second leg handing Muldoon nearly a three second advantage, but the Dolphins came back in the third leg and trailed by only .57 seconds. With Mount Saint Vincent firmly in control of third place, the outcome of the meet rested in the hands of Nunziata. Going neck-and-neck for the entire leg, Nunziata delivered, swimming the fastest leg of the relay (28.88), and out touching Mary Ellen Kiernan at the wall, handing St. Joseph’s the overall victory by 1.02 seconds.
“It was the most pressure I’ve ever faced in my swimming career, knowing the entire meet came down to me and the race was so close,” commented Nunziata. “I knew she was right beside me the entire way and I wasn’t sure that we won until I looked up at the clock and saw my entire team celebrating. I’m very happy to help bring home the W for us.”
The Lady Bears jump back in the pool on Thursday, February 4th on the road against Old Westbury at 8 p.m.