Jamie Saettele scored a game-wining goal with less than two minutes remaining to give Bucknell University a 6-5 win over the GW men’s water polo team in Lewisburg, Pa. Sunday. It was a tough weekend for the Colonials who were also defeated by No. 14 Princeton University at the Smith Center on Saturday.
The weekend losses evened the Colonials record to 3-3. They travel next weekend to Princeton for the North/South Invitational and will play the University of Massachusetts to start the tournament.
On Saturday, it looked as if there was an upset in the making, but Princeton came from behind and scored seven goals in the last half of action to defeat the Colonials 12-7. Despite holding a 5-1 lead at the end of the first period, the team allowed one of the nation’s top players to score 10 late goals.
It was an important match for the Colonials because it counts toward their placement in the Eastern Conference Athletic Championship tournament Oct 27-28.
As the first period opened, the Colonials quickly took control, effectively utilizing its strong defense to hold off Princeton’s offensive game. This allowed GW to put the pressure on the Tigers.
“We played a real strong defense the first period. We played how we’ve been practicing all week,” senior Josh Gimpelson said.
As the period came to a close, GW led the Tigers 5-1 in what looked to be the beginning of an upset. Sophomore Pat Dodge led GW with three first-period goals.
“I think they underestimated us at first,” GW head coach Scott Reed said.
During the second period of play, Princeton’s Robert Urquhart became an unstoppable force scoring three quick goals before finishing the day with 10 goals.
Despite the Tigers comeback, GW managed to maintain a thin 6-5 lead as the first half ended. Between periods, Reed continued to stress the importance of maintaining the team’s strong defense.
“He really wanted us to focus on defense. That was our game plan: to have a strong defense,” Gimpelson said.
Princeton took control of the game for good in the third period. Urquhart scored two of his team’s four goals, as GW junior Gur Doitel added one goal for the Colonials.
Taking an 8-7 lead after three periods of play, Princeton continued to extend its lead in the final period, adding four more goals by Urquhart. GW goalkeeper Chris Blick made several important saves to prevent the Tigers from extending too large a lead.
“(Princeton) made some adjustments to what we were doing, and we didn’t adjust to that,” said Reed.
Despite the tough loss, GW remains confident. Players suggested Saturday’s match against the water polo powerhouse provided a confidence boost.
“They’re one of the best teams in the league,” Gimpelson said. “Even though we did lose, it gave some of the younger guys, and even some of the older guys, a lot of confidence.”