Following last weekend’s back-to-back losses at the Smith Center, men’s water polo returned home Saturday to pick up its first home victory and ninth of the season.
The Colonials (9-6, 3-2 MAWPC) defeated Wagner (7-5, 1-1 MAWPC) 19–12 in the afternoon match.
“This weekend brought our confidence back to where it should be,” sophomore center defender Jordan Blosser said. “I think we are one of the best teams in our conference but it is all about knowing that we can.”
Sophomore utility player Atakan Destici tallied a team-high six goals in the match, and freshman utility player Andras Levai contributed four assists on the day.
Junior goalkeeper Austin Pyrch minded the net and garnered 14 saves, setting a career-high tally.
The Colonials scored three goals in the span of one minute to jump to an early lead in the first quarter. The Seahawks did not find the scoreboard until the sixth minute.
GW’s advantage did not last long. The Colonials allowed Wagner to sneak in two unanswered goals to end the first quarter that tied the game at four goals a piece.
“We were really controlling the match early until we made a series of just really awful decisions that stunted on the momentum that we had,” head coach Barry King said.
The second quarter was a hotly contested period with both teams unable to hold onto a lead for more than a few seconds. The Seahawks opened it with a quick goal to put them ahead, but Destici answered with one for GW just seven seconds later to knot up the game again.
The score was tied three times in the second quarter until the Colonials broke away with two minutes left in the frame. Three unanswered goals from Blosser and freshman attacker Kerim Sismanoglu pushed the score 10–7 at the half.
“Halftime came at a fortuitous time in terms of us taking a breath and finding our rhythm again,” King said. “I got to get on a few people that needed some getting on and they responded well.”
At the break Destici, Blosser, sophomore center Andrew Mavis and senior center Pierce Deamer led the pack with two goals a piece. Senior attacker Duke Becker and Sismanoglu contributed one goal each.
The match’s turning point came in the third quarter, when the Colonials picked up six goals in the period while allowing Wagner only one goal in the first minute of the frame.
“In the third quarter our defense was amazing,” Destici said. “We focused on defense first before starting the quarter and it just motivated us to focus first defense not offense.”
Attacking the goal in the deep end of the pool helped the team regain their momentum, King said.
“The difference between attacking the shallow end and in the deep end is fairy extreme in terms of the opportunities that you’re going to have,” King said. “When we switched back in the third quarter and got to attack the deep end, that kind of rejuvenated our efforts and made us and we became a sounder team on the defensive end, too.”
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Colonials were leading 16-8. Despite the large margin, GW ended the frame outscored by the Seahawks 4-3, including allowing Wagner two free shots in a span of 20 seconds.
“The lead was fairly substantial in the fourth and there had been a number of substitutions,” King said. “The mix between substitutions and trying to protect the ball tend to lead to things like that, especially when the lead is that big.”
The Colonials return to action Oct. 7 on the road against Bucknell at 5 p.m. They only have two remaining home games before the end of the season.