ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy water polo team started preparations for the 2012 campaign last Wednesday (August 15) with its first practice of the season. The team has been working up to its first official competition on Sept. 1 with the Navy Labor Day Open, but will have intra-squad scrimmages this weekend at Scott Natatorium in MacDonough Hall.
The Midshipmen are coming off a 24-7 overall record and a runner-up finish in the CWPA Eastern Championships a year ago. It marked the seventh straight year, tying a CWPA league record, that Navy has played in the Eastern title game. However, Navy's last title came in the 2008 season which resulted in Navy's last NCAA Tournament berth. Since the year 2000, Navy's current three-year absence matches the longest the program has gone since winning the Eastern title and reaching the NCAA Championship.
Navy's offensive output will be done by a committee this year as head coach Mike Schofield saw five of his top six scorers from last year graduate. The leading returning scorer is senior Paul Pedrotty, who was second on the squad a year ago with 78 points on a team-best 58 goals and 20 assists. However, just three other players (Archie Warren, Pat Seipp and Scotty Snowden) reached 20 points a year ago.
Anthony Gutierrez returns for his senior season in goal, making 377 career saves to rank eighth on the school's career saves list.
Following the Navy Open, Navy will be home on Sept. 15-16 for the Navy Invitational and then again on Sept. 22 when it opens league play against Princeton and Bucknell.