Nov. 15, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The 19th-ranked Navy water polo team aims for its first CWPA Eastern crown and NCAA Tournament since 2008 berth this coming weekend as it heads to the CWPA Eastern Championship in Princeton, N.J., beginning on Friday. The Midshipmen enter the tournament with a 22-4 overall record and are the No. 7 overall seed in the tournament. Navy opens with St. Francis, N.Y., on Friday at 2:30 PM.
Tickets are available at the entrance for $25 for the entire tournament or $10 per day.
The Midshipmen finished fourth at the CWPA Southern Division Championships two weeks ago, the lowest finish for the squad in the tournament's 20-year history. However, Navy was the most-dominant squad during the regular season and head coach Mike Schofield hopes the team can regroup.
"If we can remember what our identity is and where we achieved success earlier in the year, I think we will be all right," Schofield said. "There are eight very good teams in the tournament and all eight teams have a legitimate chance to win and represent the East in the NCAA Tournament. We just need to play our game and get back to basics. I am confident this team will do that this weekend."
Navy won its first game two weeks ago in the Southern Division Tournament with a 14-4 win over Gannon, but fell to Bucknell and Princeton by 13-11 and 10-7 margins in the next two games. The results knocked Navy to the seventh seed, where it will face second seed and Northern Division Tournament champion, St. Francis, N.Y. The Midshipmen and Terriers have waged some memorable battles over the years, having met in the Eastern Championships in 2010 (finals), 2008 (semifinals), 2007 (finals), 2005 (finals) and 2004 (semifinals).
A Navy victory would move the Midshipmen into Saturday's semifinals against the winner of Mercyhurst and MIT at 6:00 PM. The finals will be contested on Sunday at 2:30 PM.
Navy has reached the Eastern championship a league record-tying seven straight years, but has dropped three straight title game matches by a combined eight goals. Entering this season, every Navy senior class that has graduated since 2001 has reached the NCAA Tournament at least once, and the Class of 2013 is trying to keep that streak intact.
Paul Pedrotty continues to lead Navy in scoring with 119 points on 77 goals and 42 assists. His 119 points are the third most in a season in school history while the 77 goals and 42 assists rank seventh and fifth, respectively. For his career, Pedrotty has 226 points to rank 16th all-time.
He is aided by classmate Erich Schwamb, who has tallied 83 points on 41 goals and 42 assists. Archie Warren has 58 points and Jesse Walker has contributed 51 points.
Tyler Barker leads the team with 90 saves on the defensive end, while Anthony Gutierrez has stopped 81 shots. Gutierrez owns 458 career saves to rank tied for fifth on the Navy career saves list.
Navy has been the dominant program in the Eastm winning a league-record nine championships and owning a 66-24 (.733) CWPA Eastern Tournament record. Against teams in this year's field, Navy is 32-13 (.711) during tournament play.
# GO NAVY #