Water Polo Defeats Johns Hopkins to Finish Fifth at MAWPCs
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy water polo team (10-16) closed out the 2017 season with a 9-5 victory over Johns Hopkins (16-17) in the fifth-place game of the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championship tournament on Sunday morning at Lejeune Hall.
“We put together a solid performance today,” head coach Mladen Stanicic said after the game. “We didn’t have many oscillations and played good defense, all-in-all resulting in a relatively comfortable win.”
Junior goalkeeper Francis Kim (Houston, Texas) was named Player of the Game, posting 13 saves in the victory. For Kim, it was the third consecutive game of the MAWPC Tournament with double digit saves. The junior kept the Blue Jays scoreless in the first quarter and allowed only two first half goals en route to the victory. The Navy defense assisted Kim throughout the game, disrupting the Hopkins offense, leading to 14 JHU turnovers.
Offensively, eight different players combined to score the Mids’ nine goals. Senior Ian Bagent (Norcross, Ga.) led the charge with a pair of goals, while Taylor Bernhardt (Annapolis, Md.), Gabe Gaspar (Pittsburg, Pa.), Jake Haines (Ashburn, Va.), Nate Reiff (Wheeling, Ill.), Matt Skowronski (Oak Hill, Va.), Crawford Smith (Mechanicsburg, Pa.), and Kevin Volkov (Freehold, N.J.) each scored goals in the game.
The first quarter was low scoring as neither team was able to break the plane of the goal through the first six and a half minute of action. The Mids broke the scoreless deadlock as Bagent took a pass from Volkov and buried it in the back of the net to go ahead 1-0 with just under 90 second remaining on the clock.
Navy erupted for five goals in the second quarter to take a 6-2 lead into halftime. After Johns Hopkins tied the game at 1-1, the Mids rattled off three consecutive games to take control of the game. Skowronksi, Navy’s senior captain, began the run with a power play goal to give the home team the lead back. Bagent followed with his second goal of the game to put Navy up two and Haines closed out the run with a man-up goal. Hopkins answered with a goal, but back-to-back goals by Navy to close out the half put the Mids up four at intermission. Bernhardt scored his lone goal on a power play, while Smith closed out the first half with a goal off an assist by Shepherd Warren (Baltimore, Md.).
In the third quarter, Navy picked up where it left off in the first half, scoring the first two goals of period. Reiff scored a man-up goal and Volkov followed with a goal off a pass from Bernhardt to put the Midshipmen in front 8-2. The Blue Jays chipped into the lead with a pair of goals to close out the third quarter, but the Mids led 8-4 through three complete.
The fourth quarter saw Johns Hopkins score a goal in the first minute to close the gap to three at 8-5. Navy responded with a goal by Gaspar to regain a four-point advantage with 5:12 to play. The defense held over the final five minutes to secure the 9-5 victory for the Midshipmen.