GW Men's Water Polo 2013 Season Outlook
Experienced Colonials Squad Aims for Breakout Campaign
Sep 4, 2013
The George Washington men's water polo team scored over 300 goals for the second straight season in 2012, and 86 percent of that offense is back.
GW's 13 returning letterwinners - led by nine upperclassmen - have combined to score 689 goals in their careers, and 15th-year Head Coach Scott Reed hopes that this is the year that his squad puts it all together after posting a 12-16 overall record and placing fifth at the CWPA Southern Championship last season.
"It's a pretty easy transition for us from last year to this year with the amount of experience we return," said Coach Reed. "We're very confident in what we can do offensively; the big focus that we're putting on this team is the defensive side of things."
Leading the attack will be seniors Daniel Tyner and Nate Little, who have consistently found the back of the net in their first three seasons in the Buff and Blue, and 2013 should be no different. A two-time All-Southern Division selection, Tyner led the Colonials in scoring with 51 goals last season, while Little was right behind him with 50, his third straight season with at least 50 tallies.
"Dan is an effective attacker with a great outside shot, and Nate has that knack for finding the back of the net," said Coach Reed. "We're looking for them both to do more posting up this year, as well, which will create some mismatches."
Another senior, Paul Deasey, has been a steady presence in all aspects of the game throughout his career, consistently scoring goals at nearly the same rate that he sets up his teammates.
"Paul does a little bit of everything," said Coach Reed. "He's able to put the good shots away when they're there, he's able to make the passes and he plays really smart defense. He's a great all-around player."
Junior Brian Mojica led the Colonials with 51 assists - the second-highest single-season total in program history - and matched Tyner for the team lead with 74 points in 2012. While he is capable of scoring as well, his biggest asset is his ability to find his open teammates.
"With the group we have out there and all the scorers that we have, we do need people that are capable of getting those assists and making those passes," said Coach Reed. "The way Brian plays, that is definitely one of his strongest points - he's able to see those openings and make those quick passes, and that's what we need him to do."
Coach Reed will also look to Mojica, along with sophomore Jonah Dowd, to utilize their speed to jumpstart the Colonials' counterattack, which is an area he feels his squad needs to improve upon from last season.
Mojica's classmate, Ridvan Pehlivan, has been a commanding presence at the center position for the last two seasons. Pehlivan, who played just 19 games last season after missing the first eight while competing for his native Turkey at the European Under-19 Championships, ranked fourth on the team with 41 goals and his 2.15 goals per game ranked second on the team to Tyner.
"Rudy is going to be our go-to guy in the center," said Coach Reed. "He's the one who is going to be controlling our offense."
Sophomore Bogdan Petkovic had a big rookie campaign last fall, a season which culminated in CWPA Southern Division Rookie of the Year and All-America honorable mention accolades. The 6-foot-4 center defender from Serbia put up big numbers on both ends of the pool, ranking third on the team with 45 goals and 69 points while shattering the program single-season steals record with 96.
"We're expecting Bogdan to do the same things he did his freshman year and be that anchor on our defense," said Coach Reed.
Senior Adam Streeter is an effective defender who will back up Petkovic at the center defense position.
"Streeter is smart on defense, and when the opportunities arise, he's not afraid to shoot the ball, either," said Coach Reed.
Junior Adam Wrobel missed his entire freshman campaign with a shoulder injury and spent last season getting himself back into the game, but Coach Reed expects a breakout season from the team co-captain and Southern California native.
"Wrobel has looked a lot sharper so far this year, and we're going to be looking for him to produce big-time, offensively and defensively," said Coach Reed.
Coach Reed also looks for Wrobel's classmate, Matthew Williams, to step up on both ends of the pool to give the Colonials greater depth.
"Matt has been biding his time and I think he's ready to step up this year," said Coach Reed. "He's got a really effective outside shot, he can counter well and his defense has improved dramatically."
Junior Rafi Castillo has battled injuries throughout his career, but is healthy and Coach Reed looks for him to add to the transition game and be an effective defender. Sophomore Alec Sedlachek will back up Pehlivan at the center position after seeing limited time during his rookie campaign.
Four-year starting goalkeeper and GW's all-time saves leader Cameron Illes graduated in May, but sophomore Connor Dillon is ready to step into the starting role after spending last season learning from Illes. Dillon posted a solid 9.45 goals-against average in 22 quarters in 2012.
"Connor did a good job preparing himself this summer; he's very focused," said Coach Reed.
Dillon will be backed up by freshman Sander Profaci, a Connecticut native who Coach Reed says "does not back down from any challenge and is doing a good job of pushing Connor."
The CWPA Championship takes on a new format this season, as the top three teams from each division receive an automatic bid and six other teams earn at-large berths, making every game even more important.
"The CWPA is going to be very competitive this year, very deep," said Coach Reed. "There are 10 teams out there that I can honestly say can win the conference. It'll be exciting, but it's going to be challenging at the same time. That's what we're building this league towards. It'll be fun."