Defense leads men’s water polo’s rout of Mercyhurst, 11-3

Jaylen Amaker, Staff Writer

After a 15-day layoff since its win over No. 19 Navy, the men’s water polo team dominated Mercyhurst on Oct. 19 at Kinney Natatorium with an 11-3 triumph.

The Bison struggled early to find their rhythm and gave up two early goals, but bounced right back thanks to three goals in a span of just under two minutes by Grant Curry ’18. These three goals gave the Bison the lead, and they never looked back. The Orange and Blue scored twice more in the second quarter and three times in each of the final two quarters.

The Bison had a stout defensive effort all-around. Sean Daley ’17 led the way with a team-high six steals. The Bison posted 17 steals overall and kept Mercyhurst scoreless for a remarkable 29-minute stretch. The defense was smothering and did not allow Mercyhurst to set up its offense. During this stretch the Bison offense dominated, tallying 11 unanswered goals. A late goal with 18 seconds left in the final period ended the drought for Mercyhurst.

Goalkeeper Charlie Niehaus ’18 had a career day with eight saves in 24 minutes of playing time. He started in place of Keegan Williams ’15 who sat the game out. Patrick McKenzie ’17 also contributed as he posted one save in eight minutes of action.

“We were a little rusty to start, but we raised our level of intensity after the first quarter, and that showed on the offensive and defensive ends of the pool,” Ken Wattana ’15 said. “It is always great to get a win in front of the home crowd, and we were able to go out there and handle our business. We look to carry the momentum from this win to our trip to California this week and the playoffs.”

This Bison win marked their largest margin of victory this season and also the fewest goals by an opponent since an 11-3 win over Harvard in Sept. 2012. The Bison increased their lead in the all-time series with Mercyhurst to 11-1, including two wins this season.

The Bison improve to 7-6 on the season and have a big weekend ahead of them. The Bison will travel to California and play five games at the Santa Clara Rodeo Oct. 24-26. They are scheduled to play Concordia, UC Davis, Cal Baptist, Air Force, and Santa Clara.

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