Sports

Kirchberg ’18 nets 13 goals in water polo’s 4-0 weekend

Team veteran reflects on his time at Brown, victories in Santa Clara tournament

By
Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tyler Kirchberg ’18 recorded 13 goals at the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament last weekend. He is also the NWPC Co-Player of the Week.

The men’s water polo team traveled to Santa Clara, California to compete in the Julian Fraser Memorial Tournament last weekend. Led by Tyler Kirchberg ’18, the Bears defeated California Baptist University, Loyola Marymount University, Santa Clara University and Fresno Pacific University. Kirchberg accounted for 13 of Brown’s 43 total goals, eight of which came in the fourth quarter of overtime, and totaled six assists and 14 steals in the process. In the victory over Fresno Pacific, he recorded a game-high five goals, netting one for the win in the final 50 seconds to keep Bruno undefeated in California. 

In addition to receiving Brown Student-Athlete of the Week honors, Kirchberg was also recognized as the Northeast Water Polo Conference Co-Player of the Week. For his leadership in the pool and clutch performances over the weekend, Kirchberg has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: How did you first get into water polo?

Kirchberg: I got into water polo when I was about 12. I actually started swimming when I was a lot younger than that and swam on a recreational summer team. I wanted to get faster at swimming and all the water polo players I knew who were on that rec team were really, really fast. So I was like, “Alright, I’ll give it a try.” I had been playing baseball, so it kind of integrated swimming and baseball. I always stuck with swimming, though more on a recreational level. I swam on my high school team over the summer, but I played water polo year round starting my freshman year of high school. That’s when I really committed to the sport.

Congratulations on going 4-0 this weekend. How did that feel?

It was great! Looking back, I think it was a little unexpected because the games were all really close, and they all could have gone either way. The last game we played — Fresno Pacific — we weren’t winning until the last 50 seconds of the game. The entire game was exciting. It was a battle. We were down the whole time, and it was pretty much like that for each individual game. Right up until the last buzzer sounded, it was pretty up in the air who would come out as the winner. I think it was really good for our team to go 4-0. It was really exciting and good for us to battle back from a lot of those games that were close, and come out victorious.

Your final season of water polo at Brown is coming to a close. Do you have any personal aspirations?

As a senior, my personal goals are just to keep contributing as I have but also encourage a lot of the younger guys to step into the roles I think everyone on the team knows they can fill. It’s a big step going from high school and club water polo up to the collegiate level. … Just helping to make those guys comfortable while they’re playing and giving them the confidence they need to do well while they’re in is definitely something I’m going to try to do toward the end of this season. And just enjoying it while I have my last few games of water polo left. 

What are the team’s goals?

We have two more weekends of conference games — one this weekend and next weekend. We’d love to go 5-0 with the rest of our conference games and put us in a really good spot for our conference tournament that’s coming up in about a month. The goal is always to win the conference tournament. When I was a freshman, we ended up winning that, which gave us a berth to the NCAA tournament. The past two years, we’ve been really close. We lost in the championship last year and in the semi-finals the year before, so we’re always hovering around that first, second, third place spot. This year, I think if our team comes together like we did this past weekend, it will be a really exciting tournament.

Looking back, what has been your most memorable moment?

There’s definitely a few that come to mind. Winning my freshman year was really incredible. That was a really fun experience and kind of unexpected. We were the underdogs, and it was a really great way to start off my water polo career at Brown. Overall, just being with each team has been different because the team has had a different personality each year depending on who’s on it. But each year there’s different small things like dinners and bus rides that are really, really fun and fond memories that I look back on. We’ve had team success, but it’s definitely just being with the guys on the team that’s been the most memorable. I’ll miss playing, and it’s fun to compete, but what I’ll probably miss the most is the team camaraderie we have.

What has been your favorite class you’ve taken so far?

There have been a few. I study biology, so I really liked Genetics. It was a pretty intense class, but I liked it a lot. I also really liked The Digital World just because I have no experience with CS, and I thought it was an awesome introduction. … Probably my favorite class I’ve taken is called Emergency Medical Systems. I’m pre-med looking to go to medical school after graduation, and this class was taught by two ER physicians who worked down at Rhode Island Hospital. Part of the class involved shadowing at the hospital, so that was a really cool experience. I got to go down there, hang out with an ER physician for about four hours two times during the semester and got to really just be thrown into the craziness of an ER and see it firsthand. That was really cool because that’s a profession that I want to end up doing.

The water polo team will be back in action Saturday as they host the Ivy Club Championship and gear up for the NWPC Championship.