Aug. 29, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Despite all of the success and victories of the last three years, the Navy water polo team is looking to reverse its recent trend and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2008 season. Navy has gone 71-23 overall since the start of the 2009 season, but has missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth during that span, having gone almost four full years since its last Eastern championship.
The Midshipmen have played in seven straight Eastern title-game matches, tying a league record, but have dropped the last three contests in the title game. Since 2000, every class that has come through the Navy water polo program has played in the NCAA Tournament.
With 14 lettewinners returning and a strong nucleus of upperclassment on the roster aided by a large freshman class, the Midshipmen are looking to return to the top of the Eastern division in 2012.
After graduating one of the school's all-time leading scorers in Kyle Wertz as well as another proficient goal scorer in Stevie Ray, Navy's offensive output will be handled by a slew of Midshipmen this fall.
Leading the Navy offense will be senior Paul Pedrotty, who ranked second on the team a year ago with 78 points while pacing the squad with 56 goals. He had a team-best 137 shots and tallied at least three goals 13 different times during his junior campaign. He saved his best for late in the year, scoring 52 of his 78 points in the last 15 contests.
Pedrotty will be aided by classmate Archie Warren, who tallied 25 points on 11 goals and 14 assists to rank fifth on the team in assists. A strong student, Warren has been named to the CWPA All-Academic team three times during his career at Navy.
Sophomore Pat Seipp
also returns after a strong freshman season, scoring 24 points on 14 goals and 10 assists. The 24 points were the most for a Navy freshman since Wertz scored 63 points in 2008. Seipp had three points in a loss to 12th-ranked UC San Diego and netted a pair of big goals in a win over Bucknell in the CWPA Southern Division semifinals.
Other attackers that will figure prominently in Navy's lineup include seniors Erich Schwamb (10-6=16) and Tyler Thein (10-4=14), junior Sean McDonald (4-1=5) and sophomores Jack Finch (4-3=7), Patrick Geer (5-0=5), Matt Newby (4-3=7), Thomas Patterson (3-3=6) and P.J. Taylor (3-1=4). Freshmen Thomas Allen, Carl Dowzicky, Richard Thomas and Carpenter Warren, Archie's brother, will also contend for playing time up front.
Three juniors return at the left-hander position, a specialty position that head coach Mike Schofield likes to use, especially on the offensive end. Tommy Schofer (8-5=13), Taylor Setness (5-9=14) and Scotty Snowden (11-9=20) all give Schofield depth and a unique skill-set at the position.
Juniors Jared Griffin (4-1=5) and Andrew Lacosse (1-2=3) are back at the utility position giving the Mids added depth and experience at both ends of the pool. Freshman Garrett Sabesky will also provide depth on both offense and defense.
CENTER / CENTER DEFENSE
Critical to Navy's defensive structure, the center and center defense positions feature three talented returnees and five newcomers.
Senior Cort Jones (7-3=10) is the most-experienced returnee at the position appearing in 65 career games and scoring 30 career points (16 g, 14 a). Classmates Jackson Hummeldorf (2-3=5), who has battled injuries while switching positions twice, and team captain Jesse Walker (13-6=19) also return. Walker has played in 46 career games and had a strong junior season, tallying 19 points while ranking tied for seventh on the team with 20 steals.
Freshmen Steven Emde, Kyle Koenig, Lucas MacLellan, Robert Sutherland and Will Weggeland will also battle for playing time.
Navy is well-stocked at the goalkeeper position as four keepers from last year's team return including two-year starter Anthony Gutierrez. Gutierrez is back after stopping 177 shots last year and he ranks eighth on the school's career saves list with 377. He has a legitimate chance to finish fourth on the list, needing 119 saves to move into the top four.
Eugene Chang also picked up a letter last year after stopping 26 shots in 11 games for a .510 save percentage. Sophomore Tyler Barker is back after making 38 saves against 21 goals allowed for a .644 save percentage in 12 outings. Lastly, sophomore Vikram Kanth stopped 12 shots in four games for a .632 save percentage in a reserve role.
Freshmen Caleb Lintz, Beau Bayless and Joseph Rodgers will also vie for playing time as the back line of defense.
Navy will spend the first month of the season at home, then the next month essentially on the road as the Mids try to win 20 games in a year for the eighth straight year. The Midshipmen typically play about eight games during their season-opening Navy Labor Day Open, but with construction and renovation taking place at Lejeune Hall, Navy will play just four games during the opening weekend, all coming at Scott Natatorium at Macdonough Hall.
Following a weekend off, Navy will host the Navy Invitational during the weekend of Sept. 15-16, before starting its CWPA Eastern Division play with home games against rivals Princeton and Bucknell on Sept. 22.
The Midshipmen head west to play five games, beginning on Thursday, Sept. 27, at nationally-ranked Long Beach State. Navy will also play Whittier, La Verne, Pomona-Pitzer and the Redlands.
Navy will close out league play over the next few weeks with the lone home games for the remainder of the season coming on Oct. 27 against George Washington and Johns Hopkins. The CWPA Southern Division Tournament will be played Nov. 2-4 in Lewisburg, Pa., while the Eastern Championships are Nov. 16-18 in Princeton, N.J. The NCAA Championships will be played Dec. 1-2 in Los Angeles.
Navy has the most CWPA Eastern titles of any school in the league and will be gunning for its 10th Eastern title this fall.
# GO NAVY #