GW Men's Water Polo Set for CWPA Southern Division Championship
Fifth-Seeded Colonials to Face No. 4 Bucknell, No. 9 Washington & Jefferson in Bracket Play
Nov. 1, 2012
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's water polo team travels to Lewisburg, Pa., this weekend for the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Southern Division Championship. The three-day, 11-team event will take place Nov. 2-4 at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium.
GW (10-14, 1-7 Southern) will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament and will take on fourth-seeded Bucknell on Friday at 7 p.m. and ninth-seeded Washington & Jefferson on Saturday at 9 a.m. in bracket play. The Colonials' remaining games during the weekend will be determined by its first two results.
The top four teams will advance to the Eastern Championship hosted by Princeton Nov. 16-18, where they will battle the top four teams from the Northern Division to determine the CWPA's NCAA automatic berth. GW last advanced to Easterns in 2007, when it placed third at the event, its highest-ever finish.
GW concluded the regular season with a 12-7 loss at No. 14 Navy on Saturday. Sophomore Ridvan Pehlivan paced the Colonials' offense with three goals, and senior goalkeeper Cameron Illes recorded 14 saves.
Illes has recorded 251 saves in 83 quarters this season for a career-high average of 3.02 saves per quarter. He now has a school-record 1,036 saves in his career, shattering the previous mark of 951 set by Tony Paster from 1996-99.
Junior Nate Little paces the Colonials' offense with 43 goals, and he now has 196 in his career, leaving him just seven shy of joining GW's all-time top five.
Sophomore Brian Mojica's team-best 43 assists are tied for the fifth-highest single-season total in program history. He also leads the Colonials with 62 points on the year.
Freshman Bogdan Petkovic has impressed in his rookie campaign, as he ranks third on the team with 52 points, and he has cracked GW's single-season top-5 list with 75 steals on the year.
GW placed fifth at the 2011 Southern Division Championship. The Colonials fell to Johns Hopkins in the opening match before defeating Gannon, Washington & Jefferson and Mercyhurst in consecutive contests to close out the tournament. Navy won the Southern Division title a year ago and has claimed five of the last seven tournament crowns.
Bucknell (11-13, 3-5 Southern) is ranked 17th in the nation but went just 2-3 at the Santa Clara Rodeo to wrap up the regular season. However, four of the five contests were against nationally ranked opponents. Jack Else leads the Bison with 44 goals this season, while Stefan Aleksic boasts a team-best 78 points on 40 goals and 38 assists. In addition, goalie Matt Napleton has racked up 252 saves and a .532 save percentage.
GW and Bucknell split the 2012 regular-season series, with each team winning in its home pool. The Colonials defeated the Bison, 15-12, on Sept. 22, but Bucknell posted a 13-8 victory on Oct. 14. Junior Daniel Tyner and sophomore Pehlivan have each scored six goals against the Bison this season.
Washington & Jefferson (8-13, 4-6 Southern) is ranked 10th in Division III after finishing fourth at the CWPA Division III Eastern Championship Oct. 20-21. Mike Magdic was named to the All-Tournament First Team after scoring 10 goals in three matches. He leads the Presidents with 64 goals this season.
GW defeated Washington & Jefferson, 19-9, at the 2011 Southern Division Championship, the last meeting between the two schools. Little scored nine goals in the contest, while Mojica tallied 10 points on three goals and seven assists.
The top five seeds at the Southern Championship - No. 1 Navy, No. 2 Princeton, No. 3 Johns Hopkins, No. 4 Bucknell and No. 5 GW - come from the Sothern Division's East Region, while the final six seeds - No. 6 Mercyhurst, No. 7 Notre Dame (Ohio), No. 8 Gannon, No. 9 Washington & Jefferson, No. 10 Salem International and No. 11 Penn State Behrend - are from the West Region.
A total of three teams in the field - No. 14 Navy, No. 17 Bucknell and No. 18 Princeton - appear in the latest national rankings, while Johns Hopkins is receiving votes.
All games at this weekend's Southern Division Championship will be streamed live on a pay-per-view basis. Fans can sign up to watch all 20 games of the tournament via Everest Youth Sports for $69.95, while a single-game subscription is $19.94. Additionally, GW's contest against Bucknell will be available on Bison Vision for just $9.95.
Check Championship Central throughout the weekend for schedule, results and streaming access information.