The GW men’s water polo team ended a seven-game losing streak and earned a strategic seeding for an upcoming tournament with three wins this weekend at Princeton University. The Colonials defeated second-seeded Slippery Rock College for a fifth-place finish.
The Colonials are preparing for the Nov. 2-3 Southern Championships, where the top four teams qualify for the Nov. 11 Eastern Championships. The winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, where teams play for national championship.
The Colonials seemed all but finished for the season as they headed into the Collegiate Water Polo Association crossover weekend Sunday seeded ninth out of 11 teams. They had lost eight games in a row and faced Bucknell in the first match Saturday morning – a team they lost to earlier in the year.
Led by a tough defense, the Colonials (6-11 ??) forced Bucknell into overtime before losing in sudden death. Head coach Scott Reed said his team is still having problems converting goals when teams converge on team-leader Pat Dodge.
“Everybody stepped up,” Reed said.
The Colonials were back in the water two hours later and won three-straight games. GW defeated Washington and Jefferson College 17-6, Grove City College 9-6 and Slippery Rock College 8-6.
Pat Dodge broke out of a scoring slump with 11 goals. Josh Gimpelson scored nine goals, including five against Slippery Rock.
The United States Naval Academy won the tournament with a 9-8 defeat of No. 16 Princeton University despite 15 saves from Tigers goalkeeper Jon Pharris. Seeded ninth, GW was able to avoid both of the top teams.
But it was the match against Bucknell that the Colonials are most proud of. GW will most likely play Bucknell in the first round of the Southerns in two weeks, and Reed said the team’s performance should provide them with what they need when the teams meet in two weeks.
“We have a lot of confidence that we can beat Bucknell because of how we have played them this year.”
The Bison defeated GW 3-2 Sept 23 in Lewisburg, Pa., in a game deadlocked at seven goals apiece for 26 minutes before a Bucknell goal ended it.
Reed said playing Bucknell in the first round of Southerns is key if the team wants to move on. The Colonials enter Southern tournament seeded fifth.