GW Men's Water Polo Gears Up for CWPA Championship
Ninth-Seeded Colonials Face No. 8 Johns Hopkins in First Round
Nov. 21, 2013
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's water polo team heads to Providence, R.I., this weekend for the three-day Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Championship at Brown University's Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center. The ninth-seeded Colonials will face No. 8 Johns Hopkins in the tournament's first game on Friday at 10 a.m.
Formerly known as the CWPA Eastern Championship, the tournament has been expanded from eight to 12 teams this season, with the winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. The Colonials last advanced to the CWPA Championship in 2007 when they placed third for the program's best-ever finish.
Under the new format, the top five finishers at the CWPA Southern Division Championship and the top three teams at the Northern Division Championship received automatic berths to the CWPA Championship, while the final four teams earned at-large bids. GW, which placed sixth at Southerns, garnered the top at-large spot in this weekend's field.
Northern Division champion and 13th-ranked St. Francis (N.Y.), the reigning CWPA champion, is the top seed in the 2013 tournament, while Southern Division champ and 16th-ranked Navy is the No. 2 seed and Northern and Southern Division runners-up Harvard and Bucknell - ranked 17th and 20th nationally - earned the Nos. 3 and 4 seeds, respectively. Nineteenth-ranked Brown (5th), 18th-ranked Princeton (6th), Mercyhurst (7th) and Johns Hopkins (8th) also earned automatic berths. GW (ninth), MIT (10th), Iona (11th) and Fordham (12th) round out the field as at-large teams.
GW (14-13) went 2-2 at the Southern Division Championship to place sixth. The Colonials defeated Salem International and Washington & Jefferson, but fell to Mercyhurst and Johns Hopkins.
Paced by senior Daniel Tyner, whose 64 goals and 95 points are both career highs, the Colonials are 10 goals shy of the program's single-season record of 333 set in 2011.
Sophomore Bogdan Petkovic has posted a school-record 27 field blocks on the year and also leads the Colonials with 66 steals while ranking second on the squad with 50 goals, 32 assists and 82 points. Junior Ridvan Pehlivan is tops on the team with 40 ejections drawn to go with 49 goals, and junior Brian Mojica has dished out a team-best 40 assists and is second with 31 steals.
GW is 7-8 against the CWPA Championship field with two wins over Iona as well as victories over Harvard, Bucknell, Navy, Johns Hopkins and Fordham.
The Colonials went 1-2 this season against their first-round opponent, Southern Division rival Johns Hopkins, splitting the regular-season series before falling in the fifth-place game of the Southern Division Championship.
The Blue Jays (17-9) placed fifth at Southerns to earn the division's final automatic berth into the CWPA Championship. Wes Hopkins leads his team with 61 goals, 61 assists and 122 points on the year, while Johnny Beal has scored 89 points on 44 goals and 45 assists. Erik Henrikson has seen the majority of time in the cage and has recorded 197 saves.
The winner of Friday's GW/Johns Hopkins match will face defending CWPA champion St. Francis (N.Y.) on Friday at 3:20 p.m., while the loser will take on the loser of the Princeton/Fordham contest on Saturday at 11 a.m. The tournament concludes on Sunday with placement games.
Tickets to the CWPA Championship are $10 for a one-day pass or $25 for the entire tournament. Senior citizens 65 and older will be admitted at discounted prices of $5 per day or $10 for all three days. Children 12 and under are free of charge. All tickets will be sold at the door.
For fans who cannot attend the event, the CWPA will live video stream the entire tournament at a cost of $10 per game or $25 for a weekend pass that includes all games. In addition, each game will be archived so that fans can catch up on the action if they miss a game.