May 1, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. --
Entering his 29th season at Navy in the fall, Navy water polo head coach Mike Schofield
sat down with NavySports.com to discuss the spring season which concluded recently as well as to discuss his team's prospects for the fall.
The Midshipmen competed in three spring events, beginning with the Captain John Hallett III Memorial Tournament held at West Point on March 2-3 and concluding with an event in Annapolis on April 20-21. Navy also partook in the Desert Dual at Arizona State University on April 12-14.
At the Captain John Hallett III Memorial Tournament, Navy's A team finished second of eight teams in the Varsity / Open Men's Division, defeating Princeton 21-7 in the first round, St. Francis, N.Y., in the semifinals, 11-10, while losing in the finals to perennial National Men's Open Champion, the New York Athletic Club, 11-7, in the finals. The B team finished seventh in the same division, losing 11-10 to St. Francis, N.Y., 12-10 to Asphalt Green (N.Y.) and defeating the Greenwich Aquatics men's team, 15-4.
Navy then competed at the 24-team Desert Duel at Arizona State University on April 12-14, with the A team finishing tied for third place with the New York Athletic Club. The Mids defeated Laguna Beach and Riptide of Los Angeles in the first round, before losing to the eventual champion, Olympic Club of San Francisco, in the semi-finals. Navy rebounded by defeating Sunset of San Diego in the third-place game. The Navy B team split its four games, gaining valuable experience and plenty of minutes against older, stronger, more experienced players.
The final competition of the spring was held at Navy on April 20-21. Navy played a round-robin schedule followed by first and third-place games with George Washington University
and the Northern Virginia men, a group of former NCAA players from the metro area.
The Navy A team ended up winning all four of its games, defeating George Washington, Northern Virginia twice and Navy B. The Navy B team split with George Washington, defeated Northern Virginia and lost to Navy A for a 2-2 record.
NavySports.com: How do you feel the spring season went this year? What were some of the things you liked and some of the things that need to be addressed?
Schofield: Overall, we had a good spring. Like any fall sport that has a spring season, we try to use the spring to do a little building for the fall and figure some new roles and see who is ready for some of those roles that departing seniors leave behind. We have a pretty good idea of what the depth chart will look like and I think overall, the guys had a pretty good spring.
NavySports.com: The team played in a lot of events this spring. How does that help the squad get ready for the fall season?
Schofield: We had 28 guys training from January to April. In every event we played in, we entered two teams and one of the events, we entered three teams. It gave one through 28 about 20 games of experience. You can't replace actual game-time. If we are asking our younger, less-experienced players to step up, you need to provide them equal time and give them the chance to show what they can do and develop in real-game situations. Just like every other coach is going to say, I am going to say that getting a good chunk of real action is probably the best thing we had going for us.
NavySports.com: Looking back at the spring season, what do you feel is the strength of this team heading into the fall campaign?
Schofield: I think perhaps we are in a position that we haven't been in for a couple of years, where we have more than one very capable center. Jesse Walker did a great job for us last year as our team captain. He played a lot of minutes and was our primary guy in the middle. I think we have three, four, maybe even five guys that have developed and grown up a little bit over the spring. As they say in basketball, we might have a little bit more interior presence than we have had in the past. Jesse was great, but we have a few guys that are approaching the level he played at last year.
NavySports.com: Who are some of the individuals that really stood out to you in the spring season?
Schofield: A lot of our rising sophomores really stood out. Not just them, but a lot of players in general. Robert Sutherland did the most damage for us in that center position. He had a really good event during our last weekend here at home. Will Weggeland's doing a great job and Luke McClellan and Steven Emde both had really good springs, in particular, the last month. Those four guys have been most impressive to me, although I wouldn't say anyone had a bad spring.
NavySports.com: You lost a lot of key players and production from last fall. How important is this offseason for the program to get back to the top of the East and back to the NCAA Tournament?
Schofield: It's super important. The guys did a pretty good job of making that investment. We did lose a lot of starters and front-line guys that will be graduating here next month. But the cupboard is not bare. We have a lot of good pieces that return and we feel awfully good about our recruiting class coming in.
# GO NAVY #