Water polo swept all three conference opponents this weekend, setting a four-game win streak.
The Colonials (5-6, 3-0 MAWPC) downed Mount St. Mary’s (5-8, 1-1 MAWPC) in a 20–13 shootout in the home opener this Saturday. Graduate utility player Andras Levai netted six goals along with three assists, followed by junior utility player Antonin Kralj with four goals.
“It feels really good,” Levai said. “Obviously we didn’t start the season super well, we played tough games in the first two weeks so it wasn’t going to be easy. We played top 20 teams basically all the time, but now getting that winning feeling especially for our first season underclassmen, they really needed that so they get a little bit more confidence and motivation.”
After conceding the first goal to the Mountaineers, the Colonials surged to a 5–1 lead, topped off by a goal from freshman utility player Andrija Sekulic in the final minutes of the first quarter. The Mountaineers pulled together in the second period to stay within reach of the Colonials at 9–6, but could not stifle GW’s offense.
The Colonials flooded the scoring in the third quarter, firing off four straight goals to choke off a Mountaineer comeback. Freshman utility player Logan Kalish scored with just 32 seconds left to increase the lead to 15–7 by the quarter’s end.
On the defensive side, sophomore goalkeeper Luca Castorina made 11 saves for the Colonials, proving vital in preventing a Mountaineers comeback.
Prior to the victory over the Mountaineers, the Colonials faced off against John Hopkins on the road Friday, capturing a narrow 12–11 victory less than 24 hours before. Senior attacker Henry Maas matched a career-high three goals, while Levai and Kralj both notched two goals and three assists apiece.
Maas said it was “very nice” to earn some momentum going forward and keep the team spirits high in addition to getting the younger players acclimated to the rest of the team’s play.
“It was just nice to see every single person on our team getting a chance to show what they have,” he said. “It’s hard a lot of the times in the season, especially with how competitive our schedule was for some of the newer players to get in. And so I think today they just got a lot of time to show us what they can do for our team.”
Head coach Barry King said the team needs to “reduce the gap” between the starting six and the second six players and integrate them into the game faster. He said he hopes to continue building off the win streak but said the path ahead “does nothing but get harder.”
“Nobody’s going to roll over because George Washington’s coming to town,” King said. “So moving forward, we’re just trying to earn our opportunities and then take advantage of those opportunities.”
Levai said the team needs to continue focusing on the defensive side and not get “lazy.” On the offensive side, he said the team should not be afraid to shoot and take on the responsibility of scoring. Overall, he said it was a “great feeling” to play back in the Smith Center after last season’s irregular schedule.
“That was the first time of us playing in there a long time,” Levai said. “We were not used to it because we practiced at St. James. So getting used to a shallow pool again is definitely difficult to adjust to, but it’s good to have all these fans. It’s nice to know that friends and other people come out and support us.”
The Colonials followed up their home victory with an 8–5 win over Bucknell on the road Sunday afternoon. After Bucknell tied the game up at 5 goals apiece with under three minutes to play in the third period, GW racked up three goals to claim the victory, courtesy of Maas, Kralj and freshman center Leo Lueddemann.
Castorina tallied 10 saves and a career-high five steals while Levai finished the game with a hat trick. Levai earned the MAWPC Player of the Week award for the second time this season and the fifth in his career Tuesday and Castorina racked up 36 saves and nine steals over the weekend to earn the MAWPC Defensive Player of the Week for the second straight week
The Colonials will return to the pool for a nonconference doubleheader bout against California Baptist and La Verne Friday at 1:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. respectively.