Men’s water polo finishes season decline with sixth-place at Southern Championships

By the end of September, the men’s water polo team was the No. 19-ranked team in the country, soaring up the rankings with defeat after defeat of fellow ranked opponents.

A month later, things have changed.

With it’s loss to Southern Division foe Johns Hopkins, 9-7, at the Southern Division Championships on Sunday, the Colonials are now without an automatic bid to the CWPA Championships. They will have to wait to see their CWPA Championship fate when the complete list of bids goes out early this week.

In the first round of the Southerns, GW cruised to a 17-8 victory over Salem-International, led by a career-high five goals from sophomore Alec Sedlachek, setting them up for a meeting Mercyhurst in the second round. The Colonials came into the SIU match expected to run over the Tigers, and they did, but it was still a strong example of the team they once were and the team they would need to be through the rest of the tournament.

On day two, though, GW’s hopes of winning the Championships were dashed when they fell 10-7 to Mercyhurst. The Colonials were outscored in the second-half 9-4, as Mercyhurst stole the win right out of their hands.

With a bounce-back 19-13 win over Washington & Jefferson to end the second day, GW still held a chance for an automatic bid. To do so, they would have to take down bitter Southern Division rival, Johns Hopkins, in the fifth-place game.

After an early season loss to the Colonials – who were in the midst of their season peak – the Blue Jays got their season back on track, winning eight of their last 12 matches, including a 17-10 victory over GW.

With a 7-2 first-half lead in Sunday’s match, Johns Hopkins got the last laugh, holding off GW and grabbing the final automatic bid. GW would finish sixth.

“We had a good start to the first period, but the second quarter really unraveled for us,” head coach Scott Reed said in a press release. “Hopkins really put the defensive pressure on us and we were unable to put anything together. The third quarter was absolutely fantastic on our part – we made a lot of adjustments, we were attacking aggressively and got the offense going again, but it was just a little too much to overcome.”

Finishing the season with a 14-13 overall record, the Colonials will now have to hope for one of the four at-large bids in the 12-team tournament. If they do make it, they’ll need to find the team that started 10-2, defeated two Top 20 opponents and looked more than on its own to a historic season.

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