Mercyhurst water polo had a very strong weekend in a three-game series Oct. 28-29 at Monmouth College. On Saturday, the Lakers immediately started off strong. Competing against Monmouth College, the Lakers won by 5 points in a 14-9 victory. This win snapped what was a seasonlong four-loss skid entering the tournament. The Lakers shined in the second quarter, when they managed to outscore the Fighting Scots 5-1, taking a 9-4 lead. Monmouth narrowed the score gap to 11-7 later in the game. However, early in the fourth quarter, sophomore Alex Cappuccio scored two goals for the Lakers. These two goals, alongside a goal two minutes later by junior Philip Jenny, enabled the Lakers to stay ahead until the game ended.
Junior Connor Schmitz led the Lakers, scoring four goals on five shots overall. Jenny scored two goals and two assists. Junior Matt Bachler had three helpers to go with one goal. Bachler and goaltender Andrew Too-A-Foo also had five steals each. Mercyhurst went on to beat McKendree University in their second game with a much closer final score. Despite leading the Bearcats 8-3 at one point in the second quarter, the Lakers faced strong resillience from their opponent entering the second half. McKendree would eventually tie the game at 8-8, and the two teams subsequently traded goals. The early fourth quarter saw McKendree take the lead by two points, but Mercyhurst held on and battled to a tie once more.
The Lakers did hold a 14-12 lead with less than four minutes left in the game, but the Bearcats weren’t ready to throw in the towel yet. With 1:59 left in play time, McKendree scored once more to position themselves one goal behind Mercyhurst. However, the Lakers kept their opponent from getting a shot off until the very last second of the game, which was unsuccessful. The final was 14-13, Lakers. Jenny scored seven goals overall. Four of these goals, came in the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were trailing by 2, and 6:24 left in the game. Jenny scored his goals on 10 shots, and drew 10 exclusions. He also picked up an assist, and tied sophomore Daniel Alvarez with five steals. Bachler also had a solid game, picking up three goals and two assists.
On Sunday, the Lakers topped the weekend off with a win against Salem International. Initially, the Lakers led 5-2 in the first quarter. However, Salem brought the game to a tie 1:34 before half time. From here, Salem started the third quarter by taking a 1-point lead. Mercyhurst retaliated by going a three-goal run and took a 13-11 lead. It wasn’t until the end of the fourth quarter that the Lakers were able to declare themselves the winner. Salem managed to get within one point with 11 seconds remaining in the game for a final of 16-15, Lakers. Schmitz led scoring with five goals overall. Bachler had four goals and four steals. Alvarez scored two goals with four assists, and three steals defensively.
Head coach Curtis Robinette was optimistic when asked for comment. “Our anchor, senior goalie Andrew Too-A-Foo, had some key saves throughout each game,” said Robinette. “He made some huge saves late in games to keep us ahead.” Robinette also mentioned junior Alec Diaz, and his contributions on defense. Robinette said that Diaz’s defensive work allowed Jenny, Bachler, and Schmitz to “shine on offense.”
The Lakers finish the regular season with a 9-9 overall record. However, they hold a 6-1 conference record as they move into the Collegiate Water Polo Association Tournament scheduled for Nov. 4-5. The tournament will be held at Cathedral Prep Events Center in Erie. After that, the only thing left on the team’s schedule will be the Mid-Atlantic Championships held in Annapolis, Maryland.