GW wins seven of eight on West Coast swing

by Dustin Gouker

The GW water polo team's weeklong West Coast trip got off to a rocky start when head coach Van Hoffman discovered his team had not been scheduled to play in its first event, the Claremont-McKenna Tournament.

But after the auspicious start, the Colonials (17-8) rolled over their competition, winning seven of eight matches.

"I was pleased with the trip as a whole," Hoffman said. "Aside from some of the logistics, it went well. The goal going out there was to get the team to play well and we accomplished that."

GW picked up two games by playing two of the Claremont Tournament's participants after finding out it was not in the tournament. The Colonials rolled over Harvard University 13-5 Oct. 18, behind six goals by junior Rush Taylor. GW led 5-4 after one half, but outscored the Crimson 6-0 in the third quarter to pull away. GW also beat the University of Redlands 8-5 on the same day, as senior Brandon Stout scored five goals.

The team then traveled to 20th-ranked Loyola Marymount University and beat the Lions 16-11 Oct. 22. GW built a 7-2 first-quarter lead and held on for the victory behind six goals by Stout. Loyola Marymount narrowed GW's lead to 13-10 after three quarters, but GW goalie Tony Paster held LMU to one goal in the fourth quarter.

"Of all the games, playing Loyola and beating them at their home pool, that was our most complete game ever," Hoffman said.

The Colonials played in the U.S. Air Force Academy Tournament last weekend and won four of their five matches. They opened with a 9-5 win over the University of California at Davis. Stout and freshman Chris Ansevin each scored three goals for GW.

GW came from behind to defeat Santa Clara University 12-11. The Colonials trailed 5-2 after the first quarter but outscored the Broncos 7-2 in the third to take the lead for good. Junior Doug Maitz led the Colonials with four goals.

The only loss for the Colonials came against Air Force 14-11, but Hoffman said it was one of GW's better efforts on the road trip. GW dug a 9-2 hole for itself in the quarter, but the Colonials outscored the Falcons in the remaining three quarters to make the game close.

"I'm very proud of the fact that they fought and they clawed back into it," Hoffman said. "We had two or three opportunities to make it even closer at the end."

The Colonials dominated the University of California-Santa Cruz 15-7, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after one quarter. Ansevin scored five goals, leading 10 Colonial scorers against the Banana Slugs.

GW wrapped up its West Coast trip with a 10-5 victory over UC-Davis. Taylor led the Colonials with three goals.

This weekend GW will compete in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Championships. GW enters the tournament as a fifth seed and will face fourth-seeded Salem-Teikyo University. Beating Salem-Teikyo at Southerns guarantees the Colonials a spot in the Eastern Championships, while wins beyond the first round would improve GW's seed at Easterns.

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