Men's Water Polo Rally Falls Short Against No. 12 Navy, 13-11

Oct. 31, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington men's water polo team rallied from a seven-goal deficit to within two with less than two minutes to play, but 12th-ranked Navy managed to escape Smith Center Pool with a 13-11 victory in both teams' CWPA Southern Division finale Saturday evening.

GW honored seniors John-Claude Wright, Nick Archambault, Marshall Freedman and Rick Rogers prior to the contest, their last at Smith Center Pool.

Sophomore Cray Rogers opened his four-goal effort with the first tally of the game 1:08 in to give GW a 1-0 lead. Wright put the Colonials back on top, 2-1, at the 5:24 mark of the first period, but Navy responded with eight unanswered goals spanning into the second quarter to surge ahead 9-2 with 3:41 to play in the half. The Midshipmen converted five man-up opportunities during the run and Kyle Wertz netted all five of his goals during the spurt.

Freshman Ross Kirkbaumer ended a 10-minute scoring drought with 3:15 to go in the half to make it 9-3 and Cray and Rick Rogers scored before intermission to make it 10-5 at the break.

The Colonials, spurred on by the Halloween crowd, battled back in the second half despite falling behind 11-5 just 44 seconds into the third quarter. Rookie John Paul Bezerra jump-started a 3-1 run - with goals from Archambault and Cray Rogers - to cut the deficit to 12-8 after 24 minutes of play.

Cray Rogers opened the fourth quarter with a man-up strike with 7:44 remaining to pull within 12-9. Navy failed to convert consecutive man-advantage opportunities and GW missed on its own before Conor Handley scored with 3:46 left to help the Mids regain their four-goal cushion at 13-9.



Wright continued the rally on a man-up goal just 11 seconds later to again slice the margin to three, 13-10, then added his third goal of the game with 1:29 to play to close to 13-11.

Navy missed at the end of its shot clock, but GW was whistled for a foul on its next possession and an ejection during an attempted steal with 22 seconds remaining, allowing Midshipmen goalkeeper Brett Rajchel hold the ball to waste the final seconds.

Wright finished with three goals and three assists in his final home game to move into a tie for fifth (Ron Abrams '86) on GW's career goals list with 196. Also, his 281 career points (196g/85a) are 20 shy of fifth all-time in program history.

Along with Cray Rogers' four goals, Archambault and Rick Rogers each contributed a goal and an assist. Freshman goalkeeper Cameron Illes made nine saves, including six in the second half.

GW finished 4-of-7 on man-up opportunities, while Navy missed its last three attempts to finish 5-of-8.

Navy, which beat Johns Hopkins 15-10 earlier Saturday, improves to 17-8 overall, 6-2 in league play.

GW drops to 7-21 overall, 0-8 in conference play, and awaits seeding for the CWPA Southern Division Championship in Lewisburg, PA, next weekend, Nov. 6-8.

#12 Navy 13, George Washington 11

USNA -- 6 - 4 - 2 - 1 -- 13
GW -- 2 - 3 - 3 - 3 -- 11

USNA goals: Wertz 5, Ray 2, Bell 2, Meiners 2, Carter, Handley
USNA saves: Rajchel 6

GW goals: Cray Rogers 4, Wright 3, Rick Rogers, Archambault, Bezerra, Kirkbaumer
GW saves: Illes 9

USNA record: 17-8, 6-2 CWPA Southern Division
GW record: 7-21, 0-8 CWPA Southern Division

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