Water polo goes 3-2 at men’s invitational

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, September 10, 2012

The men’s water polo team (10-2) won three of five matches at the Princeton Invitational this weekend. The Bears won 21-4 against California Lutheran University (1-3), 12-6 against Bucknell University (4-3) and 11-3 against George Washington University (4-4). Bruno fell 9-8 to Johns Hopkins University and 14-8 to the undefeated University of California at Los Angeles (7-0). 

Coach Felix Mercado emphasized the importance of the team’s defensive effort in its victories over Cal Lutheran and Bucknell. Goalkeeper Walker Shockley ’14 led the defense with seven saves against the Kingsmen and six saves against the Bison. 

“Defensively, we limited their scoring opportunities, so for us, that’s where it starts,” Mercado said. “Offensively, we were able to have patience, and whatever those teams were giving us, we took advantage of it and put the ball in the back of the cage.”

“But overall, it starts with our defense,” he added.

Though Shockley saved five shots against John Hopkins and six against UCLA, the Bears still fell short. Svetozar Stefanovic’s ’13 strong performances against Johns Hopkins and UCLA were also not enough to overcome their opponents. He scored three goals in the first game and two in the second, and James McNamara ’14, Henry Fox ’15 and Nick Deaver ’15 also contributed goals in both matches. 

Mercado admitted that the team “didn’t play well” against the Blue Jays or the Bruins, but said he realized the potential to use the losses as a learning experience. 

“There’s never such a thing as a good loss, but we’re able to see what we need to do,” Mercado said. “We can address and improve. We don’t like to lose, but I’d rather lose now than at the end of the season.”

The Bears will face the Colonials again next weekend, and Mercado said it would be important for his team to not “overlook anything” in the rematch. 

“What we did today doesn’t matter next Saturday,” Mercado said. “If we show up to play defense, we’re going to score as many goals as we need to against a team.”

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