Despite its result, the GW men’s water polo team’s game against No. 12 Navy Saturday night was a special one for a group of four seniors playing in their final home game. The Colonials narrowly fell to the Midshipmen 13-11, battling in the face of a large first-half deficit to threaten their nationally ranked visitors before ultimately falling short.
“This is the toughest we played all season long, from start to finish,” head coach Scott Reed said.
Down seven with 3:41 to go in the first half, the Colonials (7-21, 0-8 CWPA) never stopped fighting and managed to come within two goals of the Midshipmen (17-8, 6-2 CWPA) with less than two minutes to play.
Entering the fourth quarter, sophomore Cray Rogers scored his fourth goal of the night to bring the Colonials to within three goals of the Midshipmen. Navy got back a goal when sophomore Conor Handley scored with 3:46 remaining.
Senior John-Claude Wright, however, kept things interesting with two quick goals for the Colonials, bringing the score to 13-11 with 1:29 remaining.
“It was intense,” Wright said. “With the crowd, everyone was loud. It was a good feeling.”
But with fans on their feet, including many students who came to the game in Halloween costumes, GW went a man down after being called for a foul, allowing Navy to hold on to the ball as time ran out.
The Colonials start their postseason campaign next weekend at the CWPA Southern Division Championship at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. The Colonials find out Monday evening who they will play in the first round.
Prior to the game, Reed honored GW seniors Wright, Nick Archambault, Marshall Freedman and Rick Rogers.
“These four seniors will definitely be missed when all is said and done,” Reed said. “They have put blood, sweat and tears into this team.”
The seniors each received a wreath and a picture of the four of them.
Reed said that this year’s seniors made a positive impact on the team and would continue to do so, citing some of the seniors’ plans to remain in Washington after graduation.
“They never back down from any challenge and hopefully all these younger guys have learned from them and can apply that to next year,” he said. “If they stay in the city, they’re going to be around.”