By Chris McCree
The men’s water polo team earned a hard-fought fourth place finish at the Eastern Championship this past weekend at Kinney Natatorium. The Bison managed one win in three games against Fordham, St. Francis and Princeton, but all three came down to the wire; two were decided by just one goal and the other finished in overtime.
“I think that the closeness of the games really showed how we as a team are able to overcome adversity. We were able to sustain our level of play throughout even though we were in a close contest,” Howie Kalter ’11 said.
The Bison started the tournament with an overtime thriller against Fordham and walked away with a 12-9 victory. After a shaky start, the Orange and Blue came back from a halftime deficit and took the lead in the third quarter with a goal by leading scorer Beau Caillouette ’12. The Bison had momentum heading into the fourth quarter, but they quickly saw their three-goal lead disappear in the final minutes of the game. In overtime, the Bison scored four goals in six minutes to blow past the Rams 12-9.
During the semifinal matchup against St. Francis, the Bison’s comeback bid fell just short as the Terriers held on for a 10-9 win. In the middle of the third quarter, the Bison faced a 7-3 deficit, but they outscored the Terriers 6-4 from that point on to make it a close game. Kalter cut the deficit to one goal with 29 seconds left, but the Orange and Blue were unable to complete the comeback.
In the third-place game, the Bison fell behind Princeton early and could not overcome the deficit. As the fourth quarter began, the Tigers held an 8-4 lead, but the Bison were able to battle back to 8-7 before the clock ran out.
“I think that the St. Francis and Princeton games proved that we are not a team that rolls over. We fought back from behind in both instances and were just shy of victory,” Kalter said.
With the tournament over, the Bison finished the year with a record of 13-16. “Even though we didn’t win the tournament I am still pleased with how our season finished. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to play our best polo at the end of the season and I think we accomplished that,” Kalter said.
Looking ahead to next year, the team will lose many key players, including Kalter, Richie Hyden’11, Miles Gilhuly ’11, Sean Coghlan ’11 and Paul Reamey ’11. But the team is not discouraged by the losses.
Kalter is excited about next year’s team. “There are several upperclassmen that are ready to step into leadership positions as well as many young freshman who have already contributed heavily to the team’s success,” he said. “I think that next year will provide a great chance for the younger players to step up into larger roles on the team and prove their abilities.”