Navy Water Polo Concludes Season with Loss at MAWPC Championship
LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Navy water polo team completed its 2016 season on Sunday with a 16-13 loss to Wagner in the fifth place game of the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Championship. After the sixth-seeded Mids (8-18) attained an early lead in the first quarter, a 7-2 run of play by the fifth-seeded Seahawks (10-20) over an 11-minute span to close the first half was the difference-maker as Wagner withstood numerous Navy comeback attempts in the second half.
A trio of Midshipmen recorded hat tricks at Bucknell’s Kinney Natatorium in the defeat as Jared Castillo (Jr., League City, Texas), David Huber (Sr., Fort Washington, Pa.) and Matt Skowronski (Jr., Oak Hill, Va.) all found the back of the net on three different occasions on Sunday.
The action on Sunday began with a fast-paced barrage of offense as the teams traded goals on the first three possessions. Skowronski started the scoring with a marker at 7:35 before Wagner responded at 7:18. 14 seconds later, Jack Orchard (Sr., Orlando, Fla.) put Navy up 2-1. Skowronski made it 3-1 in short order for the Mids at 6:42 when he converted a five-meter penalty shot. That score would be the last for Navy for over eight minutes as it wasn’t until the 6:16 mark of the second quarter that the Mids would notched goal number four on a Huber score. During that scoreless streak, the Seahawks were able to record five unanswered goals. With the score 6-4 in Wagner’s favor, Huber netted his second goal in as many possessions at 5:44. The Seahawks extended their lead from one out to four down the stretch of the first half with three goals in the final 5:12.
Down 9-5, Navy scored the first goal of the third quarter as Castillo found the back of the net at 7:24. Back-to-back scores by Wagner gave the fifth-seeded club its largest advantage of the game of five at 11-6. Unfazed by the deficit, Navy fought back and scored four straight between 4:26 and 2:23 to make it 11-10. Shepherd Warren (Jr., Baltimore, Md.) scored twice, while Castillo and Ian Bagent (Jr., Norcross, Ga.) each tallied individual markers. Two goals by Wagner over the final 1:54 sent the game into the final period at 13-10.
In the fourth period, the margin stayed between two and three goals as the teams combined for six total scores and traded the goals in a Navy-Wagner manner. A Jack Robinson (Jr., Riverside, Conn.) goal at 7:41 was responded to by a Seahawk marker at 7:23 before a Huber score at 6:58 was bookended by the Seahawks again at 6:41. A five-meter penalty shot conversion by Skowronski at 4:58 made it 15-13, but 57 seconds later, Wagner closed the game’s scoring with a power play goal.
In goal, the freshmen duo of Ronan Williams (Fr., Severna Park, Md.) and Brandon Shields (Fr., Lake Forest, Calif.) split time in the contest. Williams was credited with four saves, while Shields made two.
Defensively, both J.B. Lee (Jr., Newport Coast, Calif.) and Robinson each recorded three steals.
“This was a very hard fought game,” remarked Navy head coach Mladen Stanicic. “We started strong, but Wagner’s outside shooting kept them in the game. They were also converting their power plays to help them stake their lead. We had a couple of good runs to tighten the game, but fell short in the end.”
In recognition of his nine goals over the entirety of the three-game tournament, Huber was named to the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference Championship All-Tournament Team. With his team winning the overall title, Bucknell’s Rade Joksimovic was selected as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The host Bison defeated the George Washington Colonials, 11-5 in the finals to earn the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Championship.
Sunday marked the final game of the 2016 season, as well as the final collegiate competitions for six seniors: team captain Taylor Peterson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Patrick Carmody (Fogelsville, Pa.), Huber, Brendan Metcalf (Frisco, Texas), Orchard and Evan Staresinic (Bradford Woods, Pa.).
“Our Class of 2017 played their last game today and I’d like to thank them for all they did for this program,” said Stanicic. “They led our team this year: Huber and Peterson on offense and Metcalf on defense. We relied on Orchard and Carmody when we needed speed or power play conversion. Unfortunately in Staresinic’s case, he was unable to recover from his shoulder surgery in time to contribute in the pool for us this season, but we’ll miss his willingness to help the team in any way he could.”
2016 Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Championship
1st Place Game: Bucknell defeats George Washington, 11-5
3rd Place Game: Fordham defeats Johns Hopkins, 12-5
5th Place Game: Wagner defeats Navy, 16-13
7th Place Game: Mercyhurst defeats Connecticut College, 15-11