The GW men’s water polo team finished in fourth place this weekend at the Southern Division Championships and for the first time in four years the Colonials qualified for the Eastern Conference Championships, where they will get a chance to play for a spot in the NCAA Final Four.
Playing in Lewisburg, Pa., GW competed in its four most important games of the year without two injured starters for most of the weekend. Pat Dodge, a three-time all-conference team member and GW’s best player, missed action with an unspecified injury. Junior Srdan Radnic was also out with an injury.
“We faced a lot of adversity this weekend,” GW head coach Scott Reed said, referring to the injuries.
The Colonials opened the Southern Championships Friday by beating Salem International University, 11-5. Reed called the team’s performance “the best water polo we’ve played all season long.”
The Colonials moved on to play Slippery Rock University Saturday and lost, 7-6, in what Reed called a bit of an emotional letdown for the team. Later that day, they had to play Navy, who had beaten GW earlier in the season, and the Colonials lost 14-7.
That put them in the third-place game against Bucknell University on Sunday, when the shorthanded Colonials played well considering their injury problems but still lost 10-6. Junior Nicholas Koenemann led the way with two goals in the game and freshman Anthony Guadagni had a goal and an assist.
Reed said Dodge will be fine to play in the Eastern Championships Nov. 15 and 16 in Annapolis, Md. The senior leader said he thinks GW has a legitimate chance to make the Final Four.
“There’s not a team in the Easterns we can’t beat,” he said.