For the third time in four years, Mercyhurst men’s water polo is going out to try to triumph in the Collegiate Water Polo Association championship, better known as CWPA.
Under Head Coach Curtis Robinette’s and Assistant Coach Justin Deis’ watches, the Lakers are motivated to overcome the challenge they have ahead.
“It’s going to be us playing as a unit. If we are able to perform offensively and execute we’re going to do just fine because our defense is pretty solid,” Deis said.
However, according to Deis, it is all about the experience. To him, if the team does not have fun in the pool, they will not be able to perform successfully.
After starting their season with an 0-4 record, the Lakers managed to turn those numbers around. In fact, after these losses, the Lakers started a 10-game winning streak.
With an overall record of 12-8 and 5-0 in the conference, the team has proven they are up to the challenge. Beginning the postseason, the Lakers went 2-2 at the Southern Division Championships, which improved them to the CWPA championship.
This year’s team has a small senior class, which allows the 11 freshmen a chance to stand up for their team. For instance utility player, freshmen Ivan Ariza.
“It’s big news. I am a freshman so I know how important it is going to the Eastern Tournament. I am really excited to play. Those who do get to travel are all excited to have made it this far. We have 11 new freshmen, which makes it interesting,” Ariza said.
According to Ariza, the key to a great performance in the CWPA is playing good defensively.
“Defense comes first always, because if we have a strong defense, our offense gets much better. If we’re able to stop an attack on our side, it’s easier to move forward and attack them effectively,” Ariza said.
Moreover, throughout the season, the Lakers have shown great team chemistry in and out of the pool, which will be vital at the CWPA. This chemistry translates into a great passing game in the pool, which allows the Lakers to move the ball faster. In reality, to Deis, the team is a family, looking out for each other.
Top goal scorers for the Lakers include senior Dave Matulis with 51 goals, junior Jack Howe with 39 and senior Jordan Hodur with 29. Junior goalkeeper Andrew Too-A-Foo has 168 saves on the season.
This weekend the team will show what they are made of when they face St. Francis College Brooklyn, in Cambridge, MA.
This will be a tough match as St. Francis College Brooklyn finished third in the Northern Division Championship.
This match up has history as St. Franicis beat Mercyhust three years ago in the final seconds of the semifinals at the CWPA Championship.
The teams will play on Friday, Nov. 20, at 2:00 p.m.