GW water polo advances to Easterns

The GW men’s water polo team placed fourth out of eight teams last weekend in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Championships, earning a trip to the Eastern Championships.

The Colonials opened the weekend with an 8-5 victory over Salem-Teikyo University, but then lost to the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University.

GW entered the tournament ranked 19th in the nation in the Water Polo Coaches Association Poll. With the loss to Princeton, the Colonials dropped to 20th in the poll with a record of 18-10.

Senior Brandon Stout led the team in GW’s opening game against Salem-Teikyo with three goals, two assists and two steals as GW won 8-5.

The Colonials played well early in the game against Salem-Teikyo, leading 7-2 at the half. GW played solid defense, finishing the game with 11 steals. Junior goalkeeper Tony Paster continued to play well. He tallied eight saves, including one on a four-meter penalty shot.

GW’s first-round victory resulted in a match-up with Navy in the second round. Earlier this season, GW had a disappointing four-overtime loss to Navy.

The Colonials executed well against Navy, putting themselves into position to win the game. GW led 6-4 with six minutes left, but the lead slowly slipped away as fourth-quarter mistakes led to Navy scores.

GW Coach Van Hoffman said his team created the opportunities necessary to win the game, but fell just short.

The loss to Navy meant GW would enter Easterns with a low seed, making it more difficult to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The same situation happened last year, as GW entered Easterns with the last-place seed.

GW faced Princeton in its final game of the weekend. The Colonials struggled early in the game, and it hurt them as they lost to the Tigers 9-7. Hoffman said GW did not play good team defense until the fourth quarter, and it cost the team the victory. The Colonials were down 9-4 going into the final quarter and fought back to make the game close.

“We let one guy beat us, which is frustrating,” Hoffman said. “He’s a great player, but we shouldn’t allow one guy to score so much.”

The Colonials now have to prepare for Easterns, where they will face top-seeded Massachusetts in the first round. Eight teams are fighting for the CWPAs one spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Eastern Championships are Nov. 14-15 at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

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