Men’s water polo team finishes strong in regular season play

The team will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to compete in the Ivy League Championships

Sports Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Men’s water polo nearly swept weekend play, finishing the weekend with two wins after losing its opening match against the Harvard Crimson by a close margin of 12-10. The Bears (12-9, CWPA 7-5) won their final two contests of the weekend against the Fordham Rams and Iona College Gaels with final scores of 14-13 and 16-5, respectively.

Bruno faced off against Harvard (9-8, 7-1) Friday night. The game’s first half finished at an even 3-3 before the Crimson took control of the game in the third frame. Harvard tallied five goals in the third quarter, while Bruno was only able to muster three. Both sides scored four goals in the fourth quarter, ending the match in a Harvard victory.

The loss — in what was the teams’ final regular season matchup — translated to a 1-2 record for the Bears in the season series against the Crimson. James McNamara ’14 led the team with three goals, while Walker Shockley ’14 accumulated nine saves as goalie.

“(McNamara) was putting in 110 percent into every pass, drive and shot,” said Nick Deaver ’15. “He gave us the leadership we were looking for — he was an animal.”

“The Harvard game came down to mental mistakes on defense,” said Matty Gallas ’16. “We can’t afford to give up 12 goals in a game, and ultimately it was the little things that allowed Harvard to win.”

Bruno’s first match on Saturday came up against the Fordham Rams (11-8, 3-3) and featured a five goal performance by McNamara. At the end of the first half, the score was 4-3 in favor of the Bears. In the third quarter, the squad tallied six goals — including three goals by McNamara — to take a 10-7 lead. The Rams responded in the fourth quarter, scoring three unanswered goals and coming up a goal short of the tie at 11-10. But the Bears held off the Rams with help from Grant Villeneuve ’14 and McNamara, as the pair combined for a total of nine steals in the fourth quarter to prevent a Fordham victory.

Later that day, the Bears faced the Iona College Gaels (3-17, 2-4) for the second time this season. In their first meeting, the Bears beat the Gaels by a close margin of 15-13, but this second game proved to be very different. Bruno got off to an early lead, as the squad tallied five uninterrupted goals in the first quarter and added another four scores in the second quarter. The squad limited the Gaels to just two goals in the second quarter, finishing off the first half with a 9-2 lead.

Bruno accumulated its third-highest scoring total of the season, reaching a total of 16 goals while limiting the Gaels to just five goals. Will Klein ’16 led the team with five goals, while Warren Smith ’17 and McNamara each added three of their own. McNamara finished with a total of 11 goals over the weekend’s three games.

“(McNamara) is an unbelievable all-around player, and his energy in the pool is contagious,” Gallas said. “When he plays the way he did this weekend, the whole team seems to pick up the intensity.”

After the game against Iona College, the team celebrated Senior Night — McNamara, Shockley, Villeneuve, Chris Culin ’14 and Eric Robb ’14 were all honored as the team’s senior players.

“It’s going to be tough not playing with them after this season for reasons in the pool and out of the pool,” Gallas said. “But we all know the season is far from over even though we already had Senior Night, so we get to hang onto them for a little longer.”

Bruno’s efforts continue this weekend at the Ivy League Championships hosted by Penn Oct. 19-20, where the Bears will be facing the Princeton Tigers for the first time this season.

“We are going into this weekend feeling confident but hungry — we put together a good team win on Saturday night against Iona, but it was really the first time we felt like we played to our potential,” Gallas said. “Playing a good team like Princeton will give us a good idea of where we need to improve further moving forward.”

“We’re excited — everything fell together against Iona on Saturday, and we’re finally getting the ball rolling,”  Deaver said. “The game against Princeton won’t be easy, but I think we have a good shot.”

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