UR co-hosted the men’s Div. III National Collegiate Club Water Polo Championship last Sunday. This young team of seven years experience placed fifth of 11 teams.
Trinity University from San Antonio, Texas won the championship game 10-8 against the Rochester Institute of Technology.
“It was a great experience to host the National Tournament this year, especially with the fans that cheered us on in our game against St. Mary’s College,” junior captain Jon Ferland said.
Based on the 2000 season results, the men’s team was seeded seventh going into the tournament. In game one on Friday night, the men faced their rival RIT, who had the advantage of being on home turf. This was an intensely close matchup and both teams fought hard until the end.
UR scored its 12th goal of the game with one minute remaining in regulation play to pull ahead, but RIT answered right back with the tying goal with only 15 seconds left on the clock.
In overtime play, the men just could not get it together and score and despite good efforts. UR lost 15-12.
Erik Dunki-Jacobs, class of 2001, and sophomore Chris Preston were high scorers in the game with five goals each.
“The first game ended disappointingly in an overtime loss to RIT,” Ferland said. “This was the toughest loss for us, because RIT is our biggest rival, and if we had won, we would have been in the championship game.”
According to CWPA tournament rules, the men were regulated to a highest possible place of fourth, which weighed heavily on the team’s minds heading into the second match.
The team’s spirits were lifted after slaughtering Lycoming College, 13-5, in their second game of the tournament on Saturday. Preston again banked five goals and Dunki-Jacobs with three.
After the first quarter, UR was leading by a significant amount, which allowed for many of the subs to get a chance to experience tournament play.
“This was by far our easiest game,” Ferland, who scored two goals, said. “This win put us into the fourth place game. If we had lost, we would have played in the seventh place game.”
Back at their home pool Sunday, UR was pumped for its game against St. Mary’s College.
This matchup, like the one with RIT, also went into overtime, as both defenses were able to hold each other at only six goals apiece. The men again succumbed in overtime, losing by a heartbreaking one point, making the final score 7-6.
“We went into this game expecting a difficult, but definitely winnable game,” Ferland said. “We played defense well, but our offense just wasn’t scoring like they did against Lycoming or RIT.”
Marden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.