2016 GW Men's Water Polo Season Outlook
GW Men's Water Polo Opens with Trio of Matches
The George Washington men's water polo team will open its 2016 season this weekend with a trio of matches at the Brown Invitational in Providence, R.I.
Second-year head coach Adam Foley, along with assistant coach David Carson, have spent the preseason continuing to build the culture of the program they set last season into one that competes for championships.
"Our ultimate goal is to win a conference championship," said Foley. "We're in a new conference this year, a lot of the teams are from the old conference, just rebranding it a bit. So we're playing a lot of the same teams, and our goal is to win. We brought back some people who got more experience last year, so hopefully we can put all the pieces together and make a run. This year, we certainly have that underlying goal still in our culture, but this year we definitely have higher expectations on the season."
Foley has been pleased with what he has seen from his team in terms of work ethic this preseason and buying into his vision.
"For the preseason we went out to San Diego: nine days, 14 practices, and lots of scrimmaging, which helped from a lot of different aspects and perspectives," Foley said. "Each person is trying to improve every day, and part of that is competing with both themselves and each other. From a physical and mental standpoint, I feel like we're in a really great place."
Three freshmen join a roster that also includes nine upperclassmen among 18 total players. Foley said that he is excited about the mix of student-athletes joining the team and the potential they have to grow and impact the season.
"I think we have three freshmen that can come in and play an important role right away with Atakan, Jordan, and Andrew. Three really great freshman, all really different players, which is great because we need people who can do different things," said Foley. "They'll all see significant minutes in crunch time."
Foley expects senior Bogdan Petkovic to start at center after sitting out as a redshirt last season. The three-time honorable mention All-American led GW in scoring during the 2014 season, set the program record for career field blocks in just three seasons, and ranks second all-time in steals.
"Bogdan is a fantastic player and should be able to guard everyone on the east coast, if not everyone in the nation," he said. "He's very versatile, better than most people think on the offensive side of things, and he's improved his game -- he's stronger and he's worked on his perimeter shot. He impacts all phases of the game."
Junior Pierce Deamer will take on a more versatile role this season. The 2015 Team MVP was named to the Collegiate Water Polo Assocaiton (CWPA) All-Southern Division First Team after leading the team with 67 goals, 30 assists, 97 points, and 55 ejections drawn last season.
"Pierce's position has changed a little bit and he's doing really well," said Foley. "He was doing a lot of perimeter attacking and shooting, and he's still going to do that sometimes, but he's also going to play inside more and post up a bit. He's a great finisher and has a great offensive presence."
GW will also have a strong presence in the cage with three returning goalkeepers. Sophomore Matt Taylor is expected to take the starting spot after posting a program-record .545 save percentage with 147 saves against 122 goals allowed last season.
"We have a great goal situation," said Foley. "We have two solid sophomores in Matt Taylor and Austin Pyrch, but Matt has been playing very well so we expect him to lockdown other offenses and lockdown our defense."
The Colonials open their season this weekend at the Brown Invitational hosted by Brown University. The team is set to face Brown (8:00 a.m.) and MIT (5:20 p.m.) on Saturday before taking on UC Davis (7:50 a.m.) on Sunday.
"We're focused in on the first game," said Foley. "Playing Brown, that's going to be a tough game. It's the first game out of the gates for both teams so it's definitely going to be a feeling out process playing with each other but for each person themselves. It's great to scrimmage yourself, but what's that going to be like in a game? That's certainly the focus."
2016 Brown Invitational Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 3
GW vs. Brown -- 8:00 a.m. Live Video
GW vs. MIT -- 5:20 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 4
GW vs. UC Davis -- 7:50 a.m.
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