Fall Sports Preview: Team tests water in early contest

With a disappointing loss to the University of Puerto Rico to start the season, the GW water polo team showed promise by bouncing back and sweeping their remaining three matches, finishing ninth overall in the Navy Open.

With the season opener out of the way, head coach Scott Reed and his team can begin to focus on the rest of the season. The team plans to continue setting its sights on turning around the program. Last year’s team won only three games (3-17).

It won’t be an easy task, and turning the program around will require considerable commitment and consistent high quality performances from all players, head coach Scott Reed said.

Reed said he has been fortunate this season to have the most remarkable players he has worked with throughout his career at GW.

“This is the best team I’ve had at (GW) in terms of overall attitude,” Reed said.

With the Navy Open over, the Colonials have just one more tournament, the Bucknell Invitational Sept. 15 -16, to get reacquainted with collegiate competition. Still, senior Josh Gimpelson said top teams in the league will be at the invite and GW must step up.

“We’re really looking forward to Bucknell,” Gimpelson said. “A lot of teams we’ll be playing there we’ll be competing against to go to the ECAC Tournament at the end of the season.”

After Sept 21, the Colonials compete against teams that may determine their postseason standing. On Sept 21, GW will host Princeton University at the Smith Center. Princeton, one of the nation’s top-20 teams, defeated GW 13-7, 17-7 and 12-9 last season.

How well GW does against Princeton and other teams in October will determine the team’s seeding in the league. All teams will be fighting for a high seed because it determines position in postseason play.

Reed is specifically counting on his three senior players – Gimpelson, Kevin Norman and Spencer Hugret – to step up their performances and lead the team to victory.

“Senior leadership will be key to winning,” Reed said. “I’m going to depend heavily on them.”

In addition to his seniors, Reed plans to fully utilize all team members, and does not plan to go easy on freshmen Greg Abate, Jacob Cohen and Srdan Radnic of Zagreb, Croatia.

“Everyone has to contribute [this season],” Reed said. “They will play quite a bit.”

Reed plans to use this young, fresh talent in support of his senior players’ efforts.

“The guys are very excited [to play],” Reed said.

What might make or break the team’s season is its performance in the Princeton Invitational Sept 29. Last season, GW lost three of four games in the Princeton Invitational. They did not win a game all season after that.

If GW can perform well in the Princeton Invitational and win their games against John Hopkins and Navy, the Colonials might find themselves in good position heading into the ECAC Championships October 27-8.

“We’ll be fighting for a good seeding,” Reed said.

Only the top four teams from the northern division and the top four teams from the southern division qualify for postseason play. The Colonials need to be in the top four teams in the north to qualify for the Eastern Championships.

Reed’s main goal is to ensure all players try their best, no matter what the outcome may be.

Winning is always important, but if we know everyone put in all they had, then no matter what we’ll be happy,” he said.

Despite the number of young, inexperienced players this season, a burden the team struggled to overcome last season, Reed, in just his third year coaching at GW, remains confident in his players and their ability to be successful this year.

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