The men's water polo team blew the competition out of the water to win the Northern Division Championship this weekend in Cambridge, Mass., for the first time since 1993. On Saturday, the Bears defeated MIT, 8-6, and the then beat No. 2 seed Fordham, 8-7, the following day.
Against MIT, Svetozar Stefanovic '13 and Ryan Gladych '13 led the offense, combining for five of the team's eight goals. Stefanovic scored three and Gladych scored two. Brandon Yoshimura '11, Gordon Hood '11 and Corey Schwartz '11 each contributed one goal.
After only eight minutes of play, MIT took a 3-2 lead, but Brown came back, edging out the Engineers 6-3 in the remaining three quarters. Kent Holland '10 was the team's backbone in the goal, raking up nine saves while letting through only six shots. This was Bruno's fourth victory against MIT this season.
On Sunday, the Bears and the Fordham Rams fought for the title of champion until the very end. Throughout the game, the score fluctuated as both teams took turns in the lead. After eight minutes, Fordham had a 3-2 lead over the Bears, but Brown came back in the next two quarters, outscoring the Rams 5-1.
The Bears entered the fourth quarter with confidence in their 7-4 lead. Fordham fought through the fourth quarter and narrowed Bruno's lead to 8-7. The atmosphere grew tense as the Rams called a timeout with just 37 seconds left on the clock. An important steal by Cyrus Mojdehi '13 prevented Fordham from tying the score and led Brown to victory. Hood dominated the offense with five goals. Stefanovic contributed two and Dean Serure '13 added one more for the Bears.
"We definitely played well as a team," said Head Coach Felix Mercado. "There were a couple of guys on the team finding their roles (who) stepped up to contribute in ways they haven't all year this weekend."
Mercado said he was particularly impressed by the performances of Marcus Gartner '12 and Mojdehi this weekend, saying they "filled some important roles." But the games could not have been won without Hood, who Mercado said is "one of the best offensive players in the country," and Holland, who "played spectacularly in goal."
Carrying the Northern Division champions title with them, the team will advance to play in the Eastern Championship at MIT on Nov. 20. The Bears will start off by playing Bucknell, a team they beat by only one goal at the beginning of the season.
"Easterns is going to be like a gauntlet," Mercado said. "If we're going to win the Eastern Championship, we are going to earn it. We are in many ways an underdog in the competition, but I expect the team to respond well to that pressure and hopefully come out on top."