Sep 6, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - With the loss of eight letterwinners that combined for nearly 400 points a season ago, the Navy water polo team will turn to a new group of leaders in 2013. The Mids won at least 20 games for the eighth consecutive season in 2012 and captured the CWPA Southern Division regular-season title.
While losing such a core group of players from last year’s team, the upcoming season provides new opportunity for a host Mids ready to make their mark.
“We had a very productive senior class last season,” said head coach Mike Schofield. “The good news is we had a very good spring season. Players from the other three classes made a lot of progress. We had a couple of games last year where those players came in performed well and in some cases won or kept us in it. They learned a lot in the spring and we’re pretty confident they’re ready to pick up the slack.”
Navy’s top-returning scorer is junior Thomas Patterson. The native of Orange, Calif., scored 35 goals and added 15 assists in 2012 and will be counted on to further increase his productivity and spark the offense this season.
“Thomas is probably our most dynamic offensive player,” said Schofield. “He’s very creative, mobile and is the most experienced guy we have. We’re looking for him to lead from the front.”
Another returning starter is senior Sean McDonald. McDonald, who was named to the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches (ACWPC) Excellent team, pumped in 24 goals and had 20 assists last season.
“We’ll certainly look to Sean to have a big year for us,” said Schofield. “He has every reason to be a top-line player in our conference.”
With 24 helpers in 2012, junior Jack Finch
is the team’s returning leader in assists. He saw action in 22 contests and had 10 games where he recorded two or more points.
“Jack is a good set-up man. He is probably our best passer and does a good job of finding the open man in every situation,” Schofield said.
Though he only saw action in 13 games last season, junior P.J. Taylor has made an impression on the coaching staff since returning to campus.
“P.J. has had a great offseason and training and it’s showing,” said Schofield.
There is a host of underclassmen that Schofield expects to be ready to contribute early this season.
“We have a lot of very offensive-minded sophomores that really did a very good job this spring. This includes Carl Dowzicky and Carpenter Warren.”
Dowzicky saw action in all 24 games last season, tying classmate Will Weggeland for the most games played by a freshman in 2012. Warren played in 12 games last season, tallying 11 points.
Patrick Geer, Matt Newby, Richard Thomas, Christian Macias and Taylor Peterson provide depth at the position.
Senior Andrew Lacosse appeared in 27 games last season and averaged just over one steal per game. He’ll provide valuable minutes at both ends of the pool again in 2013.
“Andrew started some games last year and we’ll certainly look for him to be productive again,” said Schofield. “He’s a very good defender.”
Freshmen Samuel Giddings, Corey Maier and Jack Orchard will also be in the mix at the position.
A trio of familiar faces in seniors in Taylor Setness, Tommy Schofer and Scotty Snowden all return to the specialty position.
“Taylor is very strong and we have a couple other guys in Tommy and Scotty that are also very capable,” said Schofield.
Patrick Carmody joins the group as a freshman.
Lucas MacLellan is an offensive-minded defender who tied for the team lead in points among freshmen in 2012 with 15 (1-14-15). He will be counted on as one of the younger players ready to take the next step this season.
“Lucas MacLellan will probably be our No. 1 center defender,” said Schofield. “Steve Emde can play there as well.”
At 6-7, the sophomore Emde provides a large frame as he continues to develop at the position.
“Jared Griffin, a senior, is also available at the center position; he can get in there and give us a boost,” said Schofield.
Sophomore Kyle Koenig and freshman Brendan Metcalf will provide depth defensively.
Second-year players Robert Sutherland (12-8-20) and Weggeland (14-10-24) were the only plebes to score at least 20 points in 2012. Both are expected to make an impact from the center position in 2013.
“Both players started this past spring and made improvements,” said Schofield.
Freshmen David Huber and Evan Staresinic will also look for playing time at center.
A total of seven Mids will vie for playing time in net. With the position yet to be settled, the competition will continue through the beginning of the season.
“We’re trying to solidify the starting position. Garrett Sabesky has performed well lately and Beau Bayless and Tyler Barker have also been in the mix. All three do things very well,” said Schofield.
Sabesky, a sophomore, is making the transition from being an attacker last season. Bayless, who is also a sophomore, saw action in five contests in 2012, yielding three goals on 13 shots.
Barker is a junior and has the most experience of any returning goalkeeper as he appeared in 18 games last season. He has a career goals-against average just below .500.
Senior Eugene Chang and junior Vikram Kanth both saw action in six games last year. Sophomores Caleb Lintz and Joseph Rodgers will also look to join the competition for playing time.
The Midshipmen will open the season with their annual Navy Open to be played on Sept. 7-8 in both Scott Natatorium and Lejeune Hall.
The following weekend, Navy will split its squad and send teams to both the Brown and Princeton Invitationals. While at Brown, the Midshipmen will face the host Bears, who defeated Navy in the CWPA Eastern Championships a year ago, Cal Lutheran, Connecticut College, Pacific and Eastern rival St. Francis Brooklyn. At Princeton, Navy will take on Iona, Harvard and Santa Clara.
Navy begins league play Sept. 21-22, taking on all four CWPA Southern Division opponents. On Saturday, Navy will meet Bucknell and Princeton at Scott Natatorium, before traveling to both George Washington and Johns Hopkins on Sunday.
On Sept. 26-28, Navy will head west to the Golden State for four contests against strong competition. The Mids will face powers UC San Diego on Friday, Sept. 27, and Concordia (Calif.) and UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 28. The final game in California will be against Cerritos College on Sept. 29.
After a weekend off, Navy will resume league play on Oct. 12, when the Mids travel to both Bucknell (noon) and Princeton (7:30 pm). Navy will then have three weekends off before concluding league play on November 2, when it hosts George Washington and Johns Hopkins.
The CWPA Southern Division Tournament will be played in Annapolis on Nov. 8-10, while the Eastern Championship is in Providence, R.I., during the weekend of November 22-24.