After making Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) history on Wednesday night at Princeton, NJ in the first ever Northeastern Water Polo Conference (NWPC) match — a tough 9-8 loss to the host Tigers — the St. Francis Brooklyn men’s water polo team (4-7; 0-1 NWPC) looks to bounce back in conference matches at home this weekend against rivals Brown, Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
First up is M.I.T. (4-3; 0-0 NWPC) at 11am in the Generoso Pope Athletic Center pool. The Engineers seek a second straight win over their Brooklyn rivals following last year's 14-13 win in Cambridge — breaking a 22 year-long losing streak to the Terriers.
At 5pm, Harvard University (10-1; 0-0 NWPC) — #8 in the latest CWPA Men's Varsity Poll and the East's top-ranked squad — will be up next for St. Francis. The Crimson will look to extend a modest three-match winning streak over the Terriers, including a 13-8 victory in the 2015 CWPA playoffs.
On Sunday at 10am Brown University (8-5; 0-0 NWPC) will revisit one of the fiercest rivalries in Eastern water polo. In 2014 the Bears ended the Terriers’ run of nine-straight Northern Division titles on their way to their first appearance in the NCAA Men's Water Polo Tournament in 29 years.
Wednesday night’s contest was a back and forth affair which left the St. Francis faithful largely disappointed. The Terriers, who fell behind by two goals within the first 2 minutes of the match and trailed 7-4 midway through the third period, rallied to tie the Tigers at 8-all late in the fourth on a shot by Luka Budak. The 6-7 freshman’s goal capped an uphill struggle against Vojislav Mitrovic, Princeton’s superb junior netminder who registered a program high 20 saves, none bigger than a stop against St. Francis captain Ilija Djuretic on a penalty shot midway through the second period.
Given the chance to give his team the lead with less than three minutes remaining by virtue of a questionable 5-meter penalty agains the visitors, Tigers junior Jordan Colina didn’t miss, capping a four-goal game with a blast past Terrier freshman goalie Viktor Klauzer. The game’s final tally gave Princeton (8-5; 1-0 NWPC) the win in this first-ever regular season meeting between two of the East’s best programs.
Sophomores Nikita Prokhin and Botond Kadar led St. Francis with two goals each, while freshman Will Lampkin had a strong game, netting a goal while matched up against the speedy Colina.
Despite the loss, St. Francis has an excellent opportunity on Saturday to get back into the NWPC mix; a strong showing this weekend — especially against Harvard's experienced attackers Colin Chiapello, Joey Colton, and Noah Harrison — will do wonders for the confidence of a young Terrier lineup.
All matches take place in the St. Francis Brooklyn pool (180 Remsen Street — between Court and Clinton Streets in Brooklyn Heights). For more information contact the St. Francis Brooklyn Athletics Department.