#10 Navy Fends Off Men's Water Polo in Home Opener
Sept. 27, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington men's water polo team scored five times in the second quarter to pull within one goal of 10th-ranked Navy at halftime, but the upset-minded Colonials fell short in their come-from-behind bid, 11-8, before a frenzied crowd at Charles E. Smith Center Pool on Wednesday evening.
GW (6-4, 0-3 CWPA East), which received two votes and is ranked 21st in the most recent CWPA national rankings released Wednesday, took an early 1-0 lead 22 seconds into the game on a goal by junior John Jennings. The Midshipmen responded with four unanswered goals to assume a 4-1 advantage after the first quarter.
The Colonials came out strong in the second quarter and rallied to tie the game at 4-4 just 1:38 into the period behind goals from senior John Hornberger, sophomore David Zenk and rookie John-Claude Wright. The teams then traded the next five goals, of which four were scored on man-advantage opportunities, as the Mids clung to a 7-6 lead heading into the break.
Navy (12-5, 2-0 CWPA East) made some defensive adjustments during the intermission that seemed to stifle GW's attack as the Mids surrendered just one goal in a span of 15:46 in the second half. Bram Arnold scored his game-high tying third goal of the game on the man-advantage 2:28 into the third quarter and teammate Todd Carlson added a goal less than three minutes later to extend Navy's lead to 9-6.
Jennings beat Mids' goalkeeper George Naughton with a beautiful, no-look shot with 43 seconds left in the period to narrow the gap to 9-7. Chuck Baker tallied twice in the fourth quarter to spot Navy its largest lead of the game, 11-7, with less than three minutes remaining. Zenk chipped in his second goal of the night with 14 seconds to play for the final margin.
Despite the loss, GW head coach Scott Reed was positive concerning his team's play. "It was encouraging the way we played after our performance at Johns Hopkins. This game really came down to 'Who missed more shots?' We missed our chances and Navy converted theirs."
Zenk (2g/1a) and Hornberger (1g/2a) led the Colonials with three points apiece. Jennings and sophomore Gustavo Canto each scored twice and Wright added a goal and an assist. Arnold and Baker paced the Mids with three goals each, followed by Mike Mulvey's two goals and Carlson, Aaron Recko and Andrew Plumb with one goal apiece.
GW junior goalkeeper Chris Whittam made eight saves, including five during the second-quarter rally. Naughton was stellar in the second half, making 10 of his 14 stops over the final 16 minutes.
The Colonials travel to Lewisburg, PA, on Saturday, September 30 for a CWPA league clash against 17th-ranked Bucknell at 2:00 pm