A season-opening tournament is a coach’s first opportunity to analyze his team in a competitive format. The team’s performance at these tournaments is more important than the scores.
For the GW men’s water polo team, which competes in this weekend’s Navy Open, the tournament is about erasing the memories of a lackluster performance which landed the team in 13th place at last year’s Navy Open.
“This is a very big tournament without a doubt,” Head Coach Scott Reed said. “It will be an early indication of where the team is. It will show us what we need to do to improve.”
The first competition is more than just practice for future matches, Reed said. A good tournament showing could provide a clean slate that would help the team improve from past performances.
The Colonials struggled through last season finishing with just three wins (3-21). Like this year, it was an inexperienced team.
On Saturday at 8 a.m., the Colonials will compete against the University of Puerto Rico. Last season, the Puerto Rican team, which is stacked with players from the Puerto Rican National team, defeated GW 13-4.
At 1:50 p.m. GW will play either the Navy “B” team or Queens College. Navy “B” defeated GW last season 5-3.
Reed said performing well this weekend remains an important goal both physically and mentally.
Through several weeks of intense practice, Reed said he is confident the team will perform well this weekend.
“I think we’ll be ready,” he said.
But, Reed added, the team does look tired after early practices.
As the players gear up for this weekend, Reed said they recognize Navy’s talent and capability. Reed’s feelings on the team clearly emanate those of his players, and the league in general.
“They remain a tough match year to year,” Reed said. “They lost their best player, but they still remain a powerhouse.”
To achieve success this weekend the team will need seniors Josh Gimpleson, Kevin Norman and Spencer Hugret to step up.
“Senior leadership will be key to winning,” Reed said.
The water polo team is young. Reed is in just his third year coaching water polo at GW, heading a team with four sophomores and three freshmen. Reed said he wouldn’t hesitate using the freshmen and will use them to support the starters.
“They will play quite a bit,” Reed said. “We are a very young team this year.”