Oct. 16, 2011
LEWISBURG, Pa. and PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 17th-ranked Navy water polo played a pair of dramatic games on Sunday, rallying to beat 15th-ranked Bucknell but falling to 16th-ranked Princeton in overtime for the second time this year. The Mids topped Bucknell, 10-8, in the day's first game, but dropped a 10-9 overtime setback to Princeton.
The loss to Princeton ended Navy's chances of winning the CWPA Southern Division regular-season title. The Midshipmen are 16-6 overall but are 3-3 in the CWPA Southern Division standings. Princeton is now 5-2 in the league standings with just an Oct. 21 game against George Washington left. Princeton owns the tiebreaker over Navy by virtue of its season sweep over the Midshipmen. Bucknell has wrapped up league play with a 5-3 league record.
The win over Bucknell snapped the Mids' first two-game losing streak to Bucknell since 1985, while Princeton completed the season sweep with a 10-9 overtime victory. The Tigers defeated Navy, 11-9, in overtime in Annapolis on Sept. 24.
The Midshipmen were forced to rally in Sunday's first game, their 10-8 victory over 15th-ranked Bucknell. Navy trailed essentially the whole game before a late fourth-quarter flurry lifted the Midshipmen to victory.
"We were outplayed for three quarters against Bucknell and found some life in the fourth quarter and found a way to get it done," said Navy head coach Mike Schofield. "We just had more energy in the fourth quarter than we did the first three quarters and were able to gain some momentum."
The two teams were tied 1-1 after one quarter and Navy trailed just 3-2 at halftime. Navy then saw the Bison score three of the first four goals in the second half to fall behind 6-3 with 4:39 to play in the third quarter. Scotty Snowden would score with 39 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the margin to 6-4 after three quarters.
trimmed the Bucknell lead to 6-5 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bison answered just 31 seconds later to take a 7-5 lead with 7:04 to play in the contest. Coming down to the last four minutes, the Midshipmen started their rally.
Walker and Stevie Ray scored 46 seconds apart to tie the game at seven with 2:54 to play. Bucknell would regain the lead with 1:31 to play at 8-7, but Paul Pedrotty tied the game at 8-8 with 1:12 to play and Navy took the lead for good when Erich Schwamb scored his only goal of the game with 34 seconds left for a 9-8 Navy lead. Pedrotty added an insurance goal with just one second left to give Navy the 10-8 victory.
Pedrotty led Navy with three goals, including the two in the fourth quarter, while Ray and Walker scored twice. Anthony Gutierrez stopped eight shots in goal.
Following the win over Bucknell, the contest with Princeton became a de facto CWPA Southern Division regular-season championship game, as the winner would have the inside track to the title.
Navy would surge ahead early on, grabbing 2-0 and 4-1 leads during the opening eight minutes, but the Tigers scored late in the opening stanza and tallied the game's only two goals of the second quarter to tie the game at 4-4 at intermission.
The two teams would trade goals throughout the rest of the game, as the contest was tied at 7-7 after three quarters and 9-9 at the end of regulation.
In overtime, Princeton's Mike Helou scored the only goal of the two extra sessions midway through the first overtime as he drove past a Navy defender out of the set and scored the game-winning goal. Mike Dearborn, the Princeton goalie, then made back-to-back saves as the game was ending to hold off the Midshipmen and deal Navy a 10-9 setback.
"We just made way too many blunders to deserve a win tonight. We had every opportunity to win that game and could not get it done," said Schofield. "The only good news is that everyone is healthy and we still have a month to play."
Navy will be off next weekend, but will return home on Oct. 29 to close out its regular season with games against Johns Hopkins and George Washington beginning at 11:00 am.
# GO NAVY #