Water Polo Closes Navy Open With Three Wins
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy water polo team posted a 3-1 record on the final day of the Navy Open to conclude the start of the 2017 season 5-2. The Midshipmen opened the day with a 23-5 rout of La Salle, before a tough 17-11 loss to No. 11 Princeton. The Mids rebounded with a pair of split squad victories against Iona (W, 9-8) and Gannon (W, 13-10).
"The weekend served its purpose," head coach Mladen Stanicic said. "We battle tested everyone on the roster and gained some valuable experience and insight. The stat sheets show some impressive performances by plebes, which is really exciting. The two closing wins by the split squads also tally on the positive side of the weekend performances."
Twenty-one different Midshipmen scored at least one goal on the day, while 12 players scored multiple goals. Freshman Andrew Shashin (Buffalo Grove, Ill.) led the way with seven goals on the day, while fellow plebes Bobby Lee (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Crawford Smith (Mechanicsburg, Pa.) netted six goals apiece.
In addition to the balanced offensive attack, Navy saw all three goalies on the roster pick up a victory on the day. Francis Kim (Houston, Texas) was the goalie of record against La Salle, while during the simultaneous split-squad game, Brandon Shields (Lake Forest, Calif.) earned his first win of the season against Iona and Ronan Williams (Severna Park, Md.) notched the W versus Gannon.
Navy returns to action next weekend as the Midshipmen travel to Princeton, N.J. to take part in the annual Princeton Invitational. The Mids open the tournament on Saturday in a Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference matchup with Wagner at 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 9. Navy concludes the first day of the tournament with a game against St. Francis Brooklyn at 8:00 p.m. The Midshipmen face Santa Clara on Sunday, Sept. 10 in a game slated for 2:45 p.m.
Game 1 Recap: Navy 23, La Salle 5
The Midshipmen began the second day of the Navy Open with a dominating 23-5 victory over La Salle. Navy and La Salle were knotted 2-2 before the Mids broke the game open with a 10-1 run. After a goal cut the home team's lead to 12-4, Navy responded with an 11-1 onslaught to close out the game and pick up its third victory of the season.
Shashin and Crawford Smith led the attack with four goals each, while Lee and Cole Jacobs (Naperville, Ill.) added three goals apiece for a hat tricks of their own. Kim worked the first half in goal to post his second win in as many games before giving way to Shields who closed out the game between the pipes.
Game 2 Recap: No. 11 Princeton 17, Navy 11
Navy's upset bid of No. 11 Princeton fell short at the Midshipmen fell to the national-ranked Tigers, 17-11, at the Lejeune Hall swimming pool. Princeton jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first five minutes of the match and was able to hold on for the victory.
The Midshipmen, who trailed 9-5 at halftime, used a quick goal by Jacobs to close the gap just after intermission. The Tigers used a 5-0 run to take command of the game at 14-6. Navy responded with a pair of goals by Nate Reiff (Wheeling, Ill.) and Gabe Gaspar (Pittsburgh, Pa.) to trim the margin to 14-8. The Mids would get no closer as Princeton scored the next three goals to take a 17-8 advantage. Navy refused to go quietly, scoring the final three goals of the match to provide the final margin of 17-11.
The team was led by Gaspar and Reiff who each tallied two goals apiece. The finished the game with nine different players netting at least one goal in the contest.
Game 3 Recap: Navy 9, Iona 8
Navy "A" rallied from down a pair to earn a 9-8 victory over Iona as part of a split-squad match in the Navy Open.
The Mids trailed 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 before notching back-to-back goals to knot the game. Tied 6-6 heading into the fourth quarter, the Gaels used a goal to take a 7-6 advantage just 30 seconds into the period. Navy used back-to-back-to-back goals by Nik Galvan (Henderson, Nev., team captain Matt Skowronski (Oak Hill, Va.), and Kevin Volkov (Freehold, N.J.) to take a 9-7 advantage over the next three and a half minutes of play. The defense held over the final four minutes of play, allowing just one goal.
At goalie, Kim earned the start. The junior allowed just four goals in the first half before giving way to Shields. Shields earned his first win of the season, working the second half between the pipes. He allowed four goals, while making six stops.
Game 4 Recap: Navy 13, Gannon 10
While Navy "A" was defeating Iona, 9-8, Navy "B" posted a 13-10 win over Gannon to improve the Midshipmen to 5-2 on the opening weekend of the season.
Navy began the game with a fury of goals, taking an early 4-0 lead. Gannon began to chip away at the Mids' lead and went into halftime down just one, 8-7.
Eighty seconds into the second half, the Golden Knights tied the match at 8-8. With the game tied, the Midshipmen used goals by Jason Dompke (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Smith to take a two-goal advantage. The two teams traded a pair of goals each, giving the Mids an 11-10 edge. Trevor Clark (San Marcos, Calif.) and J.B. Lee (Newport Coast, Calif.) put the game out of reach with two goals in a 30-second span to provide the final margin of 13-10.