The GW men’s water polo suffered three straight Collegiate Water Polo Association losses Saturday and earned one victory Sunday.
The Colonials went into Round II of CWPA play this weekend with a 2-1 league record but lost to Bucknell, Salem-Teikyo and Princeton universities. Their only victory came against Slippery Rock University Sunday.
In the first game Saturday morning, GW started off with a 5-4 first-quarter lead over Bucknell. However, with scoreless second and third quarters, the Colonials were outmatched by Bucknell, losing 12-7. Senior Brandon Stout led GW in the losing effort with five goals and one steal.
GW’s poor play continued in its second game against Salem-Teikyo, falling behind 6-1 by halftime. The Colonials improved in the second half, but the effort wasn’t enough as Salem-Teikyo won 13-7. Once again, GW was led by solid play from seniors as Stout tallied two goals, one assist and one steal, and Jeremy Yamamoto added seven steals.
The Colonials lost their third straight game Saturday 10-8 to Princeton as they continued to struggle on both offense and defense. GW got contributions from only a few players. Stout scored five of the team’s eight goals. The Colonials led 5-4 at halftime, but Princeton pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Colonials 6-3 to win.
GW went into Sunday morning’s game against Slippery Rock desperately needing a victory. The first half brought more struggles for GW as the half ended in a 6-6 tie. The Colonials came alive in the third quarter following an amazing and bizarre play by Yamamoto.
The Colonials were assessed a penalty, and Slippery Rock was awarded a four-meter penalty shot. While Slippery Rock was preparing for the shot, junior goalkeeper Tony Paster was kicked out of the goal by the referee for moving prior to the whistle. GW head coach Van Hoffman replaced Paster with Yamamoto for the penalty shot. Yamamoto went in and made an unbelievable kick save with his foot by baiting the Slippery Rock player to shoot in that direction.
The save revived the Colonials. They went on to a 15-6 victory. Paster was allowed back in the game after the penalty shot and didn’t allow another goal. GW was led in scoring by junior Rush Taylor, Stout and freshman Chris Ansevin, each with three goals. Six other Colonials scored to balance their offensive attack.
“We just weren’t ready to play for some reason,” Hoffman said. “Now we know where we stand. We know what we need to work on.”
Hoffman will take his team on a 10-day trip to California and Colorado beginning Thursday, and he said it will be the perfect opportunity to work on the team’s weaknesses, which were exposed in Round II of the CWPA. Among those weaknesses, Hoffman said that his team is young and easily distracted.
“We really need to focus better,” Hoffman said.
Although GW had a bad showing over the weekend, it remains in good shape for the upcoming Southern Championships, which takes place at Princeton Oct. 31. The Colonials earned a fifth seed for Southerns and will face fourth-seeded Salem-Teikyo in the first round. Hoffman expects his team to win the first game, but GW then should face the U.S. Naval Academy in the second round.
Navy will play the University of Richmond in the first round and is heavily favored. If GW wins its first game against Salem-Teikyo, it will advance to the Eastern Championships. The additional games at Southerns will determine the team’s seed for Easterns.
“If we’re going to do anything at Easterns, we can’t go in as a low seed,” Hoffman said. “We need to have a three, four, or a five seed.”
Hoffman said he is looking forward to the rest of the season and was glad his team got its bad weekend of play out of the way before Southerns. Last year, GW fell apart at Southerns and entered the Eastern Championships as the last-place seed. Hoffman hopes that a higher seed this year will position the Colonials for a more successful postseason run.