Sports

Men’s water polo finishes 3-2 in Bruno Fall Invitational, prepares for first road games

Nick Deaver ’15 scored back-to-back goals in the final minutes of a late-game thriller against Navy

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, September 16, 2013

Luke Irwin ’17 completed a hat trick, contributing to Bruno’s win against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen last Friday.

The No. 18 men’s water polo team won its first three games of weekend but fell short in its last two, finishing with a 3-2 record at the Bruno Fall Invitational held in the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. This was the second weekend in a row Bruno hosted some of the country’s top teams.

The squad faced off Friday against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen in its first match of the tournament. Jake Wyatt ’17, Warren Smith ’17 and Luke Irwin ’17 all completed hat tricks, and Matty Gallas ’16 added two steals, three assists and a hat trick to the scorecard to help the Bears beat the Kingsmen with a final score of 14-5.

“In every game, the freshmen rose to the challenge — they have had some of the biggest games of their lives in the past two weeks but are still contributing as major players on our team,” said Nick Deaver ’15. “I am … proud to have them on my team.”

Bruno’s first match Saturday was against the No. 17 Navy Midshipmen, where the Bears entered halftime with a 5-2 lead. But the Mids answered back, tying the game at 9-9 with fewer than five minutes left. Deaver went on to score back-to-back goals, helping the Bears reclaim the lead, which the team kept to finish the game with a 12-10 victory. Deaver scored a total of five goals during the game, while also tallying three steals and three assists.

“Deaver had a great game — we were shorthanded without many seniors,” said Head Coach Felix Mercado. “He took a leadership role in the water.”

The final match on Saturday featured a shutout Bears victory over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Engineers, as the visitors were blanked 14-0. Smith scored five goals during the game, finishing the day with a total of nine. Walker Shockley ’14 made eight saves in the match, also adding two steals and an assist.

In the final day of the Bruno Fall Invitational, the Bears faced off against the defending Collegiate Water Polo Association champions, the No. 12 St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, and the No. 3 University of the Pacific Tigers. The squad lost both matches with final scores of 11-9 and 20-4, respectively.

The first game on Sunday against the Terriers featured a 7-4 Bruno lead at the beginning of the third quarter. But St. Francis capitalized in the second half, scoring seven goals and limiting the Bears to just two, deciminating Bruno’s advantage. Deaver added three goals during the game, but it was not enough to overcome the Terriers’ veteran savviness.

“Even though it was a loss, it is a good testament to our will and strength,” Deaver said. “Two of our best players were out with injuries, and we still found a way to stay competitive.”

“We made many critical mistakes offensively. As a veteran team, St. Francis took advantage of those mistakes,” Mercado said.

The afternoon proceeded with a match against the third-ranked Tigers. The Bears fell to an early deficit as Pacific tallied up 11 goals in the first half alone. Bruno’s struggles continued in the second half — the squad was held to just three goals, while the Tigers poured in another nine.

Bruno’s efforts continue this weekend as the squad heads to New York for a rematch against St. Francis Brooklyn, as well as games against the Fordham Rams and the Iona College Gael.