Water polo set to enter championships

By Scott Padula


The men’s water polo team heads to Princeton this weekend to compete in the Southern Championships, where it will compete against rivals George Washington, Navy and Princeton, among others.

The Orange and Blue, 10-8 this season, look to bounce back their loss at the Santa Clara Rodeo two weeks ago.

“One thing our team gained from the Santa Clara Rodeo was confidence,” co-captain Spencer Richley ’12 said. “We were ahead of UC Davis, the 12th ranked team in the nation, by three goals heading into the fourth quarter and we were tied with Pepperdine, the sixth ranked team in the country, after the first quarter.” 

“As we move forward, we can look back on the accomplishments made in California and know whole-heartedly that we have the ability to win both Southern Championships and Eastern Championships,” he said.

The Bison, the No. 3 seed in the tournament and the favorite to emerge from Group C, kick off group play against sixth seed Mercyhurst Friday night at 9:30. The Orange and Blue will wrap up group play against 10th seed Penn State-Behrend at 11:20 Saturday morning.

Barring two wins, the Bison will advance to the semifinals where they are expected to meet number two seed Navy. The Orange and Blue split the regular season series 1-1 and finished with the same conference regular season record (5-3). The Midshipmen were awarded a higher seed in the tournament due to goal differential. In the game the Bison lost, they had a two-goal advantage going into the final period.

“Our inability to close out games is something that has greatly ailed our team this season. There have been several occasions where we have been ahead going into the fourth quarter and could not finish. If we hope to be successful in the Southern Championships, we need to solve this problem,” goalie Matt Napleton ’13 said.

If the Orange and Blue are unable to overcome the Midshipmen, they will likely see George Washington in the third place game. In two regular season meetings, the Bison defeated the Colonials 10-8 and 12-5.

If the Bison upset Navy, they will advance to the championship game where many assume they will square off against the No. 1 slated Princeton Tigers. In their first regular season matchup, the Orange and Blue won 10-6, while in their second, they fell 9-8 in overtime.

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