Nov. 23, 2013
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Navy water polo team saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday at the CWPA Championship tournament with a 9-8 setback to Princeton in the semifinals. In a tight, back-and-forth game, the second-seeded Mids were defeated by a 22-win Tiger team, who scored two unanswered goals down the stretch in the fourth quarter.
Sophomores Robert Sutherland (Denton, Texas) and Carl Dowzicky (Collegeville, Pa.) led Navy’s offense with multiple goals, as Sutherland netted three scores and Dowzicky two. Defensively, Garrett Sabesky (So., Lakeside, Calif.) made six saves in goal.
The game at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center on the campus of Brown University began with a prominent Navy feel to it. The Midshipmen scored the first three goals over the opening 10:08 of play in the first and second quarters to jump out to the fast lead. Dowzicky found the back of the net at 6:29 to begin the scoring. Sutherland registered the next two scores at 5:47 in the first and 5:52 in the second quarter.
After Princeton got on the scoreboard at 5:37, the Mids fired right back 18 seconds later with another marker by Dowzicky.
The Tigers sent the game into halftime at 4-4 with a 3-0 run to close out the second quarter.
Navy and Princeton traded goals in the third quarter with the Tigers taking a 5-4 lead at 6:40 before seeing the Mids go back-to-back with tallies by Will Weggeland (So., Riverside, Calif.) and Steven Emde (Ballwin, Mo.) at 5:46 and 3:12, respectively. Princeton tied the game at 6-6 with a goal at 1:36.
With a tied score at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Saturday’s game seemed destined for another nail-biting conclusion similar to the rivals’ most recent meeting in the CWPA Southern Division Semifinals on Nov. 9.
After a Princeton goal at 7:33 opened the scoring, Navy fought back at 5:51 with a Carpenter Warren (Baltimore, Md.) goal. Sutherland followed up Warren’s marker at 4:59 to put the Mids back in front, 8-7. The fast paced back-and-forth scoring continued 29 seconds later with a Tiger goal at 4:30.
With the teams deadlocked 8-8, Thomas Nelson notched the eventual game-winning goal for Princeton with 1:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The game closed with frantic, hard-fought action as Navy pulled out all of the stops to try and even the score and keep its goal of winning the CWPA Championship and qualifying for the NCAA Championship alive. In the final seconds of the contest, Coach Mladen Stanicic pulled Sabesky from his net to give the Mids six field players to force a Tiger turnover. With the ball and two seconds to go, a full pool shot by Navy was turned aside to secure the 9-8 decision in favor of Princeton.
“In a hard-fought game that went back-and-forth, it literally came to the last second and unfortunately we fell short,” said Stanicic. “There’s nothing to be disappointed about with our performance today and you have got to credit Princeton for a job well done.”
With the loss the Mids (18-15) will play Bucknell in the third place game on Sunday at 2:30 p.m., while the Tigers (22-5) advance to play St. Francis - Brooklyn in the CWPA Championship game.