Men's Water Polo Upsets No. 17 Bucknell, Qualifies for Eastern Championship
Nov. 3, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, MD - The George Washington men's water polo team won both of its games on the first day of competition at the Collegiate Water Polo Association Southern Division Championship on Saturday, including a 6-4 upset of 17th-ranked Bucknell, to qualify for its first Eastern Championship since 2003.
GW (10-17) fell to Johns Hopkins, 7-6, Sunday morning, but had already secured a top-4 finish at the event by virtue of its upset of the Bison. The Colonials finished in third place and now advance to the Eastern Championship, which will be hosted by Harvard, Nov. 16-18.
Senior Chris Whittam made 13 saves and junior David Zenk led an outstanding defensive effort with eight steals as GW knocked off the nationally ranked Bison. The Colonials stormed to a 3-0 lead after the first quarter and never relinquished the lead. Redshirt junior Nick Eddy had two goals, followed by one apiece from Zenk, junior Sergei Shev, sophomore John-Claude Wright and freshman Nick Yeager. The victory is GW's second against a ranked opponent this season and second versus a 17th-ranked Bucknell team in the past two seasons.
The Colonials began the tournament with a 15-10 victory against Washington & Jefferson. GW jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter, but allowed the Presidents to even the game at 8-8 midway through the third quarter. The Colonials regained a two-goal advantage by the close of the period and outscored W&J 4-1 in the fourth quarter for the victory. Eddy led with four goals, followed by a hat trick from Wright. Zenk, junior Gustavo Canto and sophomore Marshall Freedman each added two goals, while Whittam made five stops.
In Sunday's semifinal, GW fell behind 2-0 early, but rebounded to assume a 4-3 lead after the first quarter. Johns Hopkins shut out the Colonials in the second period to grab a 5-4 edge at halftime and extended its lead to two during the third quarter. GW closed to within a goal with 6:00 remaining, but could not convert late in the game, including two possessions in the final minutes. Wright posted his second hat trick of the event, followed by two goals from Eddy and one from senior John Jennings. Whittam had seven saves.
Fifth-seeded GW will face the loser of the Northern Division Championship title game between No. 11 St. Francis (NY) and No. 19 Brown in the opening game of the Eastern Championship Nov. 16 at 12:30 pm.
GW last qualified for the Eastern Championship in 2003 and finished eighth out of eight teams that season. The winner of the Eastern Championship advances to the NCAA Final Four hosted by Stanford, Dec. 1 and 2.