Water polo wins 11-9, then loses by same score

After the conclusion of an out-of-conference season that saw GW’s men’s water polo team lose their national ranking, the Colonials (6-7) fell to 1-2 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Southern Division after splitting two matches this weekend.

GW followed an 11-9 win against Bucknell Friday with an 11-9 loss to 19th-ranked Princeton Sunday at the Smith Center.

The match against Bucknell was the Colonials’ second straight matchup with the Bison and third this season, but junior driver John-Claude Wright made sure the result would be different than the 9-8 loss on Sept. 21. Wright carried the Colonials to both ends of the pool, scoring a career-high six goals and adding four steals to give the Colonials the win.

After trailing at halftime, GW allowed just two goals in the second half.

“That was the key to the game,” said head coach Scott Reed of GW’s defensive prowess. “You know, it’s pretty simple, but we limited their opportunities. We had a tight defense throughout and kept them out of the perimeter and also kept their best scorer (Richie Hyden) in check.”

Hyden, who leads Bucknell with 36 goals, was stymied throughout the game and held scoreless.

Entering Sunday fresh off the victory, the Colonials could not maintain the momentum in their game against 19th-ranked Princeton, dropping their record against ranked opponents this season to 1-6. The Colonials were tied with the Tigers at halftime, but the team let up four goals in the second half while only scoring two.

Though disappointed with the loss, Reed said he thought his team played well.

“Overall, it was good team water polo,” Reed said. “We played well and kept a good defense and they beat us. Obviously it’s disappointing, but we’re playing consistently and that’s the important thing right now.”

Wright had another two goals Sunday, bringing his total for the weekend to eight, while three other Colonials scored two goals Sunday. But the key for GW is defense, and if they continue to make opposing teams work for goals, wins will follow.

Next for GW is an annual West Coast trip, beginning with a match with 17th-ranked California Baptist Thursday. From there, GW will play four games at the Claremont Convergence.

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