Men’s water polo clinched its second consecutive Mid Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championship in an overtime win against No. 15 Bucknell at Fordham’s Colonel Francis B. Messmore Aquatic Center Sunday.
The Colonials (22-6) were slated as the second seed and battled the top-seeded Bison (22-7) for 38 minutes of play and ultimately came out on top 12–11 to earn the crown. The win punches GW’s ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second time under second-year head coach Barry King.
Junior center Andrew Mavis paced the Colonials with three goals and four steals and junior utility player Atakan Destici ended the game with two goals and three assists – both securing All-Tournament First Team honors. Senior goalkeeper Austin Pyrch also earned All-Tournament First Team honors after racking up a career-high 20 saves in the match.
Both teams traded goals throughout the contest, with the Bison taking their first lead of the second half 9-8 with eight seconds left in regulation. A fast goal from Destici tied the score at 9-9 and sent the match into extra time.
Freshman utility player Nick Schroeder buried the ball into the back of the net to put GW ahead in overtime and two insurance goals by Mavis solidified GW’s second-ever conference title.
The Colonials dropped one of their two meetings with the Bison earlier this season before the championship game while racking up 22 wins on the season – the program’s best record since 1997.
The Colonials win caps off a solid weekend performance, starting with their 16–6 victory over No. 7 McKendree (15-13) Friday in the quarterfinals. In that game, GW was paced by Destici with four goals and six assists followed by senior utility player Jack Kerwin with three goals and two assists.
GW then battled No. 3 Wagner (18–14) in the semifinals Saturday, going down to the wire and pulling out a 16–14 win against the Seahawks in a rematch of last season’s final game. Mavis and sophomore utility player Andras Levai combined for 11 of GW’s 16 goals.
The Seahawks trailed by no more than two goals throughout the entire second half of the game before the Colonials netted back-to-back goals in the final quarter to solidify their win.
GW will return to action in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.