For the past three years, the Colonials have been halted in their postseason run at the Southern Division Championship.
But after defeating rival Johns Hopkins twice this season, the Colonials, seeded fourth entering the tournament, are approaching their coming match against the Blue Jays with the intention of ending this streak.
The last time GW’s team advanced past the first round of the Southern Division Championship was also the first time the team moved on in program history, in 2007.
“They have a lot of confidence going into Johns Hopkins, but I remind them everyday that Johns Hopkins is going to make some changes,” head coach Scott Reed said. “It’s going to be a tough game.”
The Blue Jays may very well make sweeping changes to their game plan and enter the match looking for redemption and revenge, Reed said he is reminding his players.
The Colonials are the top seed in their bracket, one of four that the tournament contains. Besides Johns Hopkins, GW will face the ninth seed – Gannon – but Reed is more concerned with his team’s first opponent.
“Our first game is probably the toughest of the two,” Reed said. “Not to take anything away from Gannon, but Johns Hopkins is more experienced.”
To advance past the Southern championships and compete in the 2011 Collegiate Water Polo Association Eastern Championships, GW must finish as one of the top four teams in the tournament.
Advancing past the Southern Division tournament has been a challenge for GW but sophomore top scorer Nate Little, who has netted 60 goals for the Colonials this year, says his team is ready. The squad is stronger than in years past, Little said.
“We have a lot more depth. Our bench is deep,” Little said. “We have a lot more freshmen that came this year that will contribute.”
The Colonials are a young team, suiting up 13 underclassmen. But Reed is confident that his team will be able to handle the pressure of the championship despite the younger members, pointing out that his players have been under pressure the entire season.
He’s not making any significant changes before the weekend’s play, pushing the Colonials just as hard as he has all season, but also ensuring they get adequate rest.
“This year, the team is the youngest I’ve ever had. No seniors and a couple juniors. We rely a lot on our freshmen and sophomores,” Reed said. “The key will be how they react to the championship setting.”
The Colonials first take to the pool Nov. 4 against Johns Hopkins at 7 p.m. and then return to face Gannon Nov. 5 at 12:30 p.m.