With a significant win against Santa Clara and a one-goal loss to No. 11 Bucknell already under its belt this season, the men’s water polo team is off to a promising start, just as it was last year. What head coach Scott Reed hopes to avoid is a repeat of the team’s seven-game losing streak that essentially sankthe squad last year.
Reed looks at last year as the necessary growing pains that come before a growth spurt – a breakout season this year for the Colonials. The team has a chance to prove itself in the next 10 days in a match against No. 16 Princeton Sunday, and then in games against No. 13 Navy and a rematch against Bucknell.
“We have to make it over this hump if we want to put ourselves in the position to win our conference. We can’t rest on what we have already accomplished,” Reed said.
What the team has accomplished so far has earned it votes in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s top 20 poll. After leading Bucknell, the Colonials allowed a late Bison rally, but proved they could play with one of the best teams in the country.
“The way we played at Bucknell gave us the confidence that we definitely have a chance to make it to conference championships,” senior goalie Chris Whittam said. “It shows we’re on our way there.”
Reed said he agreed that the effort and team-play demonstrated at Bucknell were positive indications of where the team is headed, saying that the team’s goal is to be ranked in the top 20 this season.
Whittam sees the Sept. 8 9-8 overtime victory against Santa Clara as the turning point for the team.
“The overtime win showed that we have the maturity and will to really stick it through,” he said.
Following the win, which took place during the Princeton Invitational, Whittam received the CWPA Southern Division Co-Player of the Week Award. While Reed called Whittam’s play thus far “fantastic” the California native is hesitant to accept the praise.
“My team makes me look good,” the captain said.
Reed is hoping the Colonials will be able to put it all together and continue to look good after playing multiple top 10 teams.
“We’ve got the basics down, now we just have to add the next dimensions,” he said.