Goalkeeping leads Bears to weekend sweep

Contributing Writer
Friday, October 8, 2010

The hours spent on the road were well worth it for the men’s water polo team.

The No. 19 Bears (13-4) went undefeated last weekend, winning 5-4 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (5-5), 11-6 at Iona College (3-9) and 16-8 at Fordham University (9-9).

These wins were critical, according to Head Coach Felix Mercado, because they all came against league opponents. In particular, he noted the determination of his team in holding on to a narrow win over MIT.

“Against MIT, we were in control of the game, but that is too good of a team to let hang around,” Mercado said. “Fortunately, we were able to get some key defensive stops.”

Max Lubin ’12 led Brown’s defense in net against MIT. Mercado praised Lubin’s work, saying the junior goalkeeper “did a fabulous job.”

Lubin pointed out that “there were goals that I definitely could have blocked,” but said that overall he was “satisfied” with his performance.

In the games against Iona and Fordham, Mercado gave the net to Walker Shockley ’14. The freshman goalie broke his personal record with 17 saves against Iona and added 11 stops versus Fordham.

“Walker was absolutely amazing in those two games,” Mercado said.

Lubin also gave his freshman counterpart rave reviews, saying that Shockley “did absolutely phenomenally.”

“He has great fundamentals and strength,” Lubin said. “He’s doing really well.”

The Bears’ next test is at Harvard (4-8) on Thursday, Oct. 14. Though Harvard has lost two out of its last three games, the team isn’t taking anything for granted, said Mercado and Lubin.

“Harvard is Brown’s rival, so we know that they are going to come out and put up a tough fight,” Lubin said. The junior also noted Harvard’s new head coach, Ted Minnis, “has taken steps towards improving that program,” he said.

Mercado said he hopes that his team will not overlook the Crimson, but says that Bruno “should be well prepared for that game.”

It may be difficult not to look past the Harvard game, since Brown’s biggest test of the season starts just eight days later. On Friday, Oct. 22, the Bears will head across the country for a set of five tough games against West Coast teams in Santa Clara, Calif.

“We are playing five nationally ranked opponents,” Mercado said, though future opponent Air Force has dropped out of the rankings in the latest poll.

The Bears will face No. 15 California Baptist University (13-3), No. 11 University of California at Davis (11-4), Air Force (3-8), No. 14 Santa Clara University (9-8) and No. 7 University of the Pacific (8-4).

“There’s really no pressure on us because we are supposed to lose those games,” Mercado said. “But our expectation is to win them all.”

Lubin admitted that the West Coast trip will be difficult, but said, “We know we can compete with those guys.”

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