Back from West Coast, water polo falls to Navy

Preparing to play a nationally ranked team is hard enough for the GW men’s water polo team. And coming off a six-day trip to the West Coast doesn’t make things any easier for the Colonials.

Fatigue may have gotten the best of GW on Tuesday when the Colonials lost to Navy by a score of 18-12 at the Smith Center. Just two days after a 1-4 showing at the Claremont Convergence in California, the defeat sent GW to 1-3 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Southern Division.

The Colonials (7-13) held their own with the Midshipmen for two quarters and even held the lead into the third quarter on the strength of one of junior John-Claude Wright’s four goals. But they petered out from that point, giving up 10 goals to Navy and perhaps showing signs of weariness from the time difference after their recent travels.

“The jet lag definitely affected us,” Wright said of the team’s preparations for Tuesday’s game. “Traveling always takes something out of you. It’s only a three-hour time difference but it can be tough.”

Though he admitted the fatigue was a factor, Wright still said the jet lag was by no means the cause of the Colonials’ defeat.

“We still came ready to play and kept with them in the first half,” he said. “We just couldn’t finish it, and then they started hitting their shots and got on a run while we started missing shots. Sometimes that happens.”

Senior utility player Nick Eddy and Wright led the Colonials with four goals each. Freshman goalkeeper Alex Sotolongo had 10 saves, including a blocked penalty shot in the fourth quarter before Navy scored three unanswered goals to pull away from GW.

Head coach Scott Reed also would not blame the team’s loss on its return home from California. Instead, he focused on GW’s inability to maintain their momentum in the second half and an abundance of mental errors.

“Against a good team like Navy, that will kill you,” he said of the Midshipmen, who had already beaten the Johns Hopkins 15-12 earlier that night.

The Colonials will go to Maryland to face Johns Hopkins Oct. 10, before taking an eight-day break and then playing Bucknell for the fourth time this season. Reed said adjustments must be made to improve on GW’s recent play and muster up some victories.

“We haven’t been sticking to the game plan – we need to be more patient offensively,” he said. “Today we did that in the first half, but then we got too excited and missed a lot of shots and opportunities in the second. We’ve got to eliminate these kinds of mistakes and do things the right way.”

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