The members of the men’s water polo team had less than 24 hours to collect themselves after a tough 11-7 loss against Princeton Saturday, with two back-to-back Northeast Water Polo Conference competitions against St. Francis Brooklyn and Iona College Sunday. But the Bears were able to rebound quickly and win both contests — an 11-9 victory over the Killians (6-8) and a sudden death overtime 11-10 win versus the Terriers.
Things did not look so promising for the Bears early on. In the team’s first match of the day, Bruno quickly fell behind the Terriers, facing a 3-0 deficit by the end of the first quarter. St. Francis capitalized on Brown’s fatigue after the Princeton game, scoring three goals in fairly quick succession to build a sizeable lead over Bruno.
But the Bears turned a corner and focused on closing the gap. The team rallied back in the second quarter, with goals by Spencer Carroll ’19, Warren Smith ’17, Luke Irwin ’17 and Rico Burke ’18 to cut the Terriers’ lead down to just one goal with the score 5-4 at halftime. In the third quarter, Irwin found the back of the St. Francis goal once again, firing a shot past goalie Viktor Klauzer for his second on the day.
But the Bears found themselves substantially down once again midway through the fourth quarter, with the score 9-6 after a thunderous run by St. Francis’ offense. Bruno needed some late-game heroics to fight back into the game.
Utility player Tyler Kirchberg ’18 answered, netting three goals in the final minutes of regulation to tie up the contest at 9-9 and send the game into overtime.
This chance was all the Bears needed. In overtime, attacker Tommy Bush ’18 struck first with a goal that gave Brown its first lead. When the Terriers responded to level the score again to 10 apiece, it was Irwin who finally came to the rescue, scoring a sudden-death goal for the hat-trick and the win.
Just as importantly on the defensive end, veteran goalkeeper Luke Weiser ’17 tallied a staggering 16 saves — including four pivotal stops during overtime — in the contest, also recording three steals and an assist for the Bears.
Coming off a draining win versus St. Francis, Bruno faced another difficult opponent shortly after in Iona. In what was the third and final game of the weekend for Bruno, the Bears won the game in similar fashion — very close, very late. Against Iona, Brown benefited from numerous goals by multiple players including one contribution by freshman Armen Deirmenjian ’20. Still, after three grueling periods, the scoreboard read 6-6.
But having learned from its experience versus the Terriers, Brown struck first and often in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Killians 5-3 in the fourth quarter to claim the 11-9 victory.
Kirchberg and Smith netted two goals each in the contest, and Kirchberg’s total of five goals that day led all Brown players in goal scoring for that weekend. Backup goalkeeper Will Renken ’19 also contributed valuable playing time in the Iona matchup, coming up with three saves, an assist and a steal.
The men’s water polo team will continue its NWPC conference play away this Saturday, with a pair of games versus MIT and Harvard that will cap off regular-season contests for quite a while. Bruno will travel back to Cambridge on Oct. 16 for the Harvard Invitational and then make the trek to California the following weekend for the Santa Clara Bronco Invitational, where first round matches begin Oct. 21.